Movie review: ‘The Fall Guy’ is a great time at the theater

This year, the summer 2024 blockbuster season feels a little different (and maybe even a little anticlimactic). My most anticipated blockbuster of the year – Dune: Part 2 – has already come and gone (don’t ask how many times I saw it in theaters, because it’s an embarrassingly high number). There’s no high-profile Marvel release to get things kicked off. 

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt’s romantic action comedy The Fall Guy did not create a huge splash at the box office this past weekend, which is actually quite a shame, because I adored this movie and would like to see it again. 

Before watching the trailer for this movie, I wasn’t aware that there was a 1980s TV series of the same name about Hollywood stunt performers (although I definitely want to learn more about the show now). I like Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in general, and the premise of this movie just looked like fun: a relationship break-up between an up-and-coming Hollywood director (Blunt) and a stunt performer (Gosling) takes an unexpected turn when they get mixed up in a wacky criminal conspiracy. 

This movie is a fun, entertaining crowd-pleaser, and I hope it gets a boost from positive word of mouth in the weeks to come. It works as a romantic comedy, it works as an action film, and it also works as a love letter to film making in general. 

If you’ve watched any “making of” documentaries for any of your favorite geek films, you’ve probably seen some of the stunt work that happens behind the scenes. While the stunt performers may not get the kind of face time and press attention as Hollywood A-list actors, modern movie making wouldn’t be possible without them. 

Even though I love special effects and recognize that CGI is a powerful tool film makers can use to tell stories, there’s still something special about practical, on-set effects. Capturing a real stunt performed by a real person on camera adds a visceral thrill to a film. These stunts can be risky, and they require specialized training and safety protocols – which is why actors themselves aren’t able to perform them. 

I’m glad that this film pays homage to Hollywood’s rich history of stunt performers and, as expected, there are some pretty great stunts on screen in this movie as well. There’s also plenty of references for movie buffs, and I feel like I need a second watch to catch them all. 

Although it’s pretty easy to see most of the movie’s big twists coming a mile away, I still had fun going along for the ride. As Ryan Gosling proved in last summer’s mega-hit Barbie, he’s got excellent comic timing, and he and Blunt play so well off each other. Simply put, The Fall Guy was a great time at the movies, and I left the theater with a smile on my face.

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