Movie Review: The Fall Guy

Published 5:16 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

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From its death-defying stunt work and action scenes to the red hot chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, THE FALL GUY is the most fun you will have at the movies this year. About 30 minutes into this action-filled romantic comedy, I thought to myself… is this the best movie of the year? Are they going to find a way to screw this up? Well, it is tied with DUNE 2 as my favorite movie of the year and no, they did not screw anything up; it stays consistently amazing all the way through.

Colt (Gosling) is the stuntman for Hollywood A-list action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). A seasoned expert, he doesn’t flinch when being set on fire, flips cars, or when he has to fall off of tall buildings. But more than having his dream job, Colt has found love on-set with the film’s second assistant director Jody (Blunt). The two are inseparable… that is until Colt has a serious injury that causes him to reevaluate everything in his life—including his career and relationship.

Cut to eighteen months later, Colt is hurdled back into the Hollywood scene when bigwig (literally) producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) reaches out to ask him to be Tom’s stuntman on a new film. Although he is initially hesitant to risk his health and progress, when he finds out Jody is directing the movie, he is on the first flight out of Los Angeles. Now Colt has to wrestle with his unresolved feelings for Jody, as well as his professional concern that he may have lost his stuntman mojo.

THE FALL GUY is a love letter to the stunt community and feels like a passion project for director David Leitch, who is a former stuntman himself. It was really cool how the film gives several winks to the audience, breaking the fourth wall to provide a meta look into what it is like to be a stunt actor, including how much of their work is thankless, taken for granted, and without the deserved credit (c’mon Academy, it’s time for an Oscar for stunt work!). Admittedly, some scenes do feel a little drawn out at times, especially towards the end, but it is only because Leitch really wants to show off his phenomenal stunt cast and the lengths they will go to in order to entertain audiences.

Yes, the stunt work and action scenes are the backbone of the film, but the heart centers around the I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E chemistry between Gosling and Blunt. From the opening shots of their characters together, their relationship had me in an absolute chokehold and I was counting down the seconds until they were together onscreen again. Of course there are intense, edge-of-your-seat action scenes in the film but if I’m being honest, a certain anxiety-inducing karaoke scene had me the most tense… so much so, if I had been watching the film at home I may have been tempted to fast forward the scene just to see what was going to happen because I couldn’t take the stress!

If I wasn’t worried about spoilers, I could see this review quickly becoming me dissecting all of the moments I am obsessed with between Gosling and Blunt. But let’s just say there are several legendary scenes that are going to be replayed over and over in the years to come, especially those set to iconic songs by Taylor Swift and KISS. And more than both actors being at their most charming, they are pretty darn funny too. I am not always a generous laugher, but many of the scenes had me laughing out loud.

Hannah Waddingham also deserves a special shout-out, who has a much meatier role than I anticipated. Her character could have easily been relegated to an unimportant side character, but in fact she has one of the most interesting arcs in the movie… and did so sporting phenomenal 80s-style hair.

THE FALL GUY is such an easy recommendation for all audiences because it has something for everyone. It is the perfect mixture of action, romance, comedy, and thriller; so much so, I think it is physically impossible to walk out of the theater without a huge smile on your face. It is an entertaining crowdpleaser and the exact kind of movie I wish Hollywood made more of. I already see it become the next rom-com action classic, up there with TRUE LIES and ROMANCING THE STONE.

Make sure you stay through the credits to get a behind-the-scenes look at the real stunts in the film and the team behind them. I love that Leitch put the stunt actors and crew names so front and center, when they are usually relegated to the middle or end of the credit reel. There is also an end credit scene where you find out what happens to the film’s villains, so stick around for that too!

My Review: A