'The Fall Guy': Only Ryan Gosling Could Revive the Studio Rom-Com – The Daily Beast

SXSW 2024
SXSW hosted the world premiere of “The Fall Guy,” where Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt’s undeniable—and hilarious—chemistry charmed the entire audience.
Entertainment Reporter
Introducing The Fall Guy’s world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on Tuesday evening, the film’s biggest blockbuster star had a message for the audience: “I’m Ryan Gosling, and I did almost none of my own stunts in the movie.” Gosling then went on to credit and thank his stunt double, Logan Holladay, congratulating him for breaking the Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls—eight-and-a-half—completed in a movie.
Sure, this may not have all that much to do with the plot of the fab movie we’re about to tell you all about. But The Fall Guy, releasing in theaters on May 3, is an ode to the art of moviemaking, and this shoutout—especially since some of the actor characters in this movie claim to do their own stunts when they actually don’t—means a lot. It’s a testament to how much Gosling and director David Leitch (a former stuntman who worked on films like The Bourne Legacy and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) have devoted this movie to the craft of stunts. Although The Fall Guy—adapted from the 1980s ABC TV show of the same name—is also a delightful romantic comedy as well as a mystery thriller as exciting as Knives Out, the movie’s dedication to its rip-roaring action sequences are what make it so goddamn entertaining.
Colt Seavers (Gosling) has the perfect life. He loves his job as the No. 1 stuntman for A-List action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), where he gets to impress everyone from top-notch producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) to camera operator/aspiring director Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). Lovebirds Colt and Jody tend to sneak off together on set, meeting up in empty trailers and whispering to each other on private radios—until one of Colt’s stunts goes wrong, resulting in a broken back and ego.
A year goes by, and Colt, blaming himself for his fall, has removed himself from his dreamy Hollywood life. He’s no longer working as a stuntman, nor is he talking to Jody; she tries to fix him to no avail, getting ghosted by her one true love. Only the passionate Gail can drag Colt out of his spiral with the promise of a stellar new job: working as Tom’s stuntman on Jody’s directorial debut, Metalstorm. Adorably, Colt’s face finally lifts. One more shot with Jody? Sure, alright. He’ll brush off the mouth guard for his dream girl.
But when Colt returns to set, only stunt coordinator Dan Tucker (Winston Duke) is pleased to have him back. Jody, crestfallen, asks Colt to leave—but, wait, wouldn’t it be better to torture him instead? Jody asks to film the same challenging stunt over and over and over again, setting Colt on fire while using her director’s megaphone to shame her ex-fling for ignoring her for the last year. But Colt will do anything—even let aliens slam his tired body into a wall around half a dozen times—to win back Jody. Colt, as rugged as he is, appears to be a Swiftie, crying to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” as he remembers everything he had with Jody. The man contains multitudes!
The Fall Guy adds even more to Colt’s plate: Tom has gone missing. Gail is trying to hide this from the studio in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the already over-budget movie, so instead of hiring the cops or a private investigator to find him, she enlists Colt. The mystery of Tom’s disappearance, albeit the least gripping aspect of the movie, throws Colt on quite a wild ride of hysterical hijinks. After a thrilling sword fight with Tom’s lover and co-star (Teresa Palmer), getting drugged at a club, and a near-death experience with Tom’s personal assistant (Stephanie Hsu), Colt is still drawing blanks. Literally—he finds Tom’s empty prop gun. You can also call that Chekhov’s empty prop gun.
It is incredibly refreshing to see a masculine action movie with fully developed female characters—workaholic Gail is as fun to watch as motor-mouthed sweetheart Jody. Blunt knocks it out of the enemies-to-lovers park, creating a rom-com leading lady as relatable as any of Meg Ryan’s famous roles—she’s nervous, she’s ambitious, she’s nervous about being ambitious. And of course Gosling meets her at the table on the rom-com parts of the film. That’s a given. Fans of any of Gosling’s romantic roles will swoon just as hard over The Fall Guy, which offers up a sizzling hot second-chance love story.
But the best part of The Fall Guy, shocking absolutely no one, is its commitment to providing some truly awe-inspiring action sequences—both in the movie-within-the-movie, along with the plot surrounding the big Hollywood production. What The Fall Guy excels at more than other action movies, though, is providing fantastic context for these electric sequences: For example, a hair-raising car chase scene is made ludicrous when Tom’s abandoned dog Jean-Claude tags along to help Colt get the bad guys off his tracks. Jean-Claude, as well-trained as he is, only speaks French. “Attaquez!” Colt commands the obedient dog.
On top of being a no-holds-barred action movie, The Fall Guy is also the best studio rom-com since Crazy Rich Asians. Gosling and Blunt make for an intoxicating duo, and Gosling really runs away with the rest of the movie, too. Clever, charming, and full of laughs, The Fall Guy should be the biggest blockbuster hit of the summer.
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