SXSW 2024: ‘The Fall Guy’ Is an Action Packed Rom-Com & The Ultimate Love Letter to Stunt People

Scott Menzel's review of The Fall Guy, the action-packed rom-com, starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.
User Rating: 9

Just two days after breaking the internet with his live performance of “I’m Just Ken” at the Academy Awards, Ryan Gosling attended the World Premiere of The Fall Guy at the SXSW Film and Television Festival.

Directed by David Leitch, The Fall Guy is the big-screen adaptation of the popular television series from the 1980s. In the film, Ryan Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, an action choreographer best known for being the stand-in for action superstar Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). While working on the set of his latest project, Colt winds up getting injured after a big action scene goes awry. The incident causes Colt to slip into a depression and question whether he wants to continue his career in the industry. After months of recovery, Colt begins to pursue a new career path until he receives a surprise call from Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) alerting Colt that Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) wants him to be Tom Ryder’s double on her directorial debut, Metal Storm. Determined to rekindle his broken relationship with Jody, Colt agrees to the job, completely unaware of the ulterior motives behind his return to the big screen.

The Fall Guy is one of those rare Hollywood blockbusters with a little something for everyone. There are several epic action set pieces, plenty of laughs, some drama, charming performances, and a multi-layered love story at its core. I know it may sound a bit clichéd, but The Fall Guy is so much damn fun that I do think it will be hard to top as the most fun I’ll have at the movies this year. There is something special about movies that completely know what they are and don’t try to be something they aren’t. Director David Leitch and screenwriter Drew Pearce knew precisely the type of movie they wanted to create, relaying that message perfectly to everyone involved. The entire film pretty much serves as a loving tribute to Hollywood while also being a parody of the big-budget blockbuster. If you have seen the trailers and TV spots for The Fall Guy, that is exactly the movie you will see on May 3. You aren’t going to walk into the theater and go, “What is this?” which happens quite often nowadays. Audiences who go to the movies to have fun and be entertained will definitely have a blast watching this film.

In my eyes, it is far too easy to label The Fall Guy as a “rom-com” because it is so much more than that. The Fall Guy is a multi-faceted love story. Don’t get me wrong, audiences will be immediately drawn to the love story between Colt and Jody, but for those who work within the entertainment industry, the real love story in The Fall Guy is all about filmmaking. In a way, the movie serves as a behind-the-scenes look into what it is like to make a movie. The Fall Guy shows you what happens on set, how scenes are filmed, and what the experience is like to shoot a big-budget action spectacle. While doing all this, the film also manages to double dip as David Leitch’s personal and heartfelt love letter to the Hollywood stunt community.

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While the average person might not be aware of it, David Leitch’s career began as a stunt performer and coordinator. His passion for film is centered around the world of stunts and his experiences working behind the scenes. There is even a joke in the movie where someone asks Colt about stunt coordinators and how they don’t get Oscars. Again, the average person may not get this joke, but it isn’t for them. Leitch and Pearce use that exchange, along with several logos of 87North Productions, to remind members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences that the stunt community should be and deserves to be recognized. This film puts that mission front and center without being preachy about it. It is a classic example of “show, don’t tell” in terms of narrative technique and one that I hope continues the ongoing discussion about The Academy adding a Best Stunts category. 

The Fall Guy also proves that Hollywood still has movie stars, with two terrific performances from Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. These two not only completely embrace the source material but give the entire project their all. They have undeniable chemistry and bounce off one another with such ease. When making a rom-com, audiences want to root for the two leads, and you immediately fall in love with them right away. I don’t think this is a hot take, but I do believe Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are movie stars and easily two of the best actors working today because they can do it all. They have such incredible range as actors and can be part of any genre. In fact, when Ryan and Emily were asked about their chemistry at the premiere, Ryan responded, “Emily could create chemistry with a trash can.” It’s true, and I believe Ryan could do the same. These two actors have such charm and charisma, which has been proven repeatedly with each new project they are a part of.

The film’s supporting cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke, and Stephanie Hsu, are all great. They each embrace their roles and are having a ton of fun while doing it. Hsu gets to show off some impressive fighting skills, which I didn’t expect to see, but she kicks some serious ass in one action-packed scene. Taylor-Johnson solidifies what it is like to be a spoiled movie star with his character. I really dug his whole space cowboy accent because it was so amusing. Winston Duke is having a lot of fun, and I dug into his character’s friendship with Colt. Hannah Waddingham is great, as usual. I enjoyed what she did with her character, and she played the role perfectly.

The Fall Guy is a total blast and non-stop fun. This type of movie demands to be seen with a crowd and should be seen on the big screen. It is pure movie magic and the perfect example of why people love going to the movies. The Fall Guy will be a massive hit at the box office, one that audiences will happily see over and over again. If you are looking for a real crowd-pleaser with a little bit of everything, do yourself a favor and go see The Fall Guy when it opens in theaters.

The Fall Guy opens in theaters and IMAX on May 3, 2024.

Summary
'The Fall Guy' is an action packed rom-com that double-dips as the ultimate love letter to the Hollywood stunt community
9
Amazing
Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott Menzel has been watching film and television since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by the films of Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associate's Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor's in Mass Media, Communications, and a Master's in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name change occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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