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More and more in the time since comic books started to take off as Hollywood fodder, you can find some created as thinly veiled movie pitches. They’ll foist substandard writing and art on readers — but hey, studio execs, how about that can’t-miss micro-kernel of an idea, or that killer title? “Cowboys & Aliens” is a case in point. At a glance, the undead-cops yarn “R.I.P.D.” seems like another example, a low-profile comic with a clever name and the good fortune to grab the attention of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds.
Too bad director Robert Schwentke (“RED”) and the writing team handling the 3-D screen adaptation don’t hold up their end, failing to do much with a premise that felt like it could rate with, say, “Men in Black.”