Review: ‘The Fall Guy’ (2024), starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt

April 30, 2024

by Carla Hay

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in “The Fall Guy” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“The Fall Guy” (2024)

Directed by David Leitch

Culture Representation: Taking place in Sydney and briefly in Los Angeles, the action comedy film “The Fall Guy” (based loosely on the 1981 to 1986 TV series of the same name) features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Asians) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A stunt double gets involved in a crime mystery while he tries to rekindle a romance that he had with the director of his current movie. 

Culture Audience: “The Fall Guy” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and over-the-top action comedies that are predictable but have entertaining performances.

Teresa Palmer and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in “The Fall Guy” (Photo by Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures)

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are a great comedic duo and should have had more scenes together in “The Fall Guy.” Their collaborative scenes are the best parts of this uneven action comedy that is over-the-top but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The movie has a crime mystery that often gets overshadowed by the silly and bombastic stunt scenes in the film that don’t have much suspense. However, “The Fall Guy” doesn’t pretend to be anything but breezy entertainment with cartoonish violence and a little bit of an amusing romance.

Directed by David Leitch and written by Drew Pearce, “The Fall Guy” is based loosely on the 1981 to 1986 TV series of the same name. The TV series was an action drama, starring Lee Majors as the title character: a heroic stuntman. “The Fall Guy” movie released in 2024 is very much a tongue-in-cheek comedy that pokes fun at the movie industry and celebrity culture. “The Fall Guy” had its world premiere at the 2024 SXSW Film and TV Festival.

The movie’s title character is Colt Seavers (played by Gosling), an insecure and sensitive stuntman. For years, Colt has worked as a stunt double for an arrogant actor named Tom Ryder (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who takes Colt for granted. Colt’s career and personal life become derailed after a stunt he was responsible for went very wrong on a movie starring Tom. An ashamed Colt then quit the movie business and then went to work as a parking valet at a restaurant in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Colt has another reason to be miserable: He is sad because of the end of an intense fling he had on the movie set with a sarcastically witty camera operator named Jody Moreno (played by Blunt), who seemed to have strong romantic feelings for him too. However, after Colt’s embarrassing stunt mishap that resulted in Colt quitting the movie business, he abruptly cut off contact with Jody. She interpreted it as Colt harshly dumping her.

One day, Colt gets an urgent call from fast-talking movie producer Gail Meyer (played by Hannah Waddingham), who insists that Colt go back to work as a stuntman for a sci-fi action movie called “Metalstorm,” starring Tom as a character named Space Cowboy. Tom’s real-life lover Iggy Starr (played by Teresa Palmer) has the role of Space Cowboy’s love interest in the movie. “Metalstorm” (which is being filmed in Sydney, Australia) also happens to be Jody’s feature-film directorial debut.

Gail says that Jody requested Colt for this job. But when Colt arrives on the “Metalstorm” movie set, he finds out that this request was a lie. Needless to say, Jody is very upset that Colt will be Tom’s stunt double for “Metalstorm.” Jody huffs to Gail about Colt: “I didn’t approve him!” Jody demands that they find someone else to replace Colt. Gail responds, “We literally have no one else.”

Also on the “Metalstorm” movie set is Dan Tucker (played by Winston Duke), who is Colt’s stunt coordinator and best friend. Dan becomes Colt’s sidekick in a lot of shenanigans that happen in the movie. When Tom goes missing, Colt is ordered by Gail to find Tom. Stephanie Hsu has a small and somewhat thankless role as Tom’s personal assistant Alma Milan. Colt also meets Tom’s drug dealer Doone (played by Matuse), who gives an unwitting Colt a drink spiked with a hallucinogenic drug. Colt hallucinates unicorns in a comedy gag that goes on for a bit too long.

During the search for Tom, Colt goes to Tom’s hotel room and finds a dead man in an ice-filled bathtub, The rest of “The Fall Guy” is a combination of a crime mystery and exaggerated action scenes, with plenty of explosions, car chases and violent fights. Colt and Jody have the expected love/hate banter, where they both don’t want to fully admit how much their breakup hurt them. Their relationship goes exactly where you expect it to go. (Watch the end credits for some “surprise” cameos.)

“The Fall Guy” can get a bit annoying at how it seems to be a little too enamored with its stunt scenes, at the expense of developing the more interesting relationship between Colt and Jody. Colt and Jody trade snappy quips, but the movie isn’t completely convincing when it comes to showing how this would-be couple’s feelings are supposed to evolve over time. The jokes in “The Fall Guy” are hit and miss and elevated by the headlining stars’ comedic talent. It’s the type of movie that could have been better but also could have been a whole lot worse.

Universal Pictures will release “The Fall Guy” in U.S. cinemas on May 3, 2024.

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