Ghost Town

Posted on December 30, 2008 at 8:30 am

Bertram Pincus, D.D.S. sees dead people. And he’s very crabby about it.

Bertram (Ricky Gervais, creator and star of the original British version of “The Office”) doesn’t much like any kind of people, living or dead. He likes being a dentist because the people he deals with mostly have their mouths full of cotton. After a bad reaction to the anesthetic during a colonoscopy has him “dead” for seven minutes, he can suddenly see ghosts everywhere and they start following him around like the Verizon wireless network. They all want him to do something so that they can rest in peace but he has no more interest in helping them than he does with the living humans in his life, including his partner, his patients, or the very pretty woman who lives in his building.

It turns out she is Gwen (Téa Leoni ). Her late husband Frank (Greg Kinnear) is the most persistent of the ghosts because he wants Bertram to stop Gwen from marrying a human rights lawyer (Billy Campbell). Betram decides the only way to do that is to woo her himself.

The story is creaky and predicatable — a little humiliation humor here, a little learning that it’s relationships that matter there, not to mention the colonoscopy humor. Director David Koepp is better known as a screenwriter (“Spider-Man” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”). The script is over-long and clunky and his visual sense is a little claustrophobic and sit-com-ish. But Gervais and Leoni are so completely charming that they make it work. It isn’t often that you see a couple really connect in a movie. Usually that moment is glossed over with a syrupy montage or having them discover that they both collect bottle caps or something. But here the easy and genuine (and sometimes politically incorrect) laughter Bertram and Gwen share keeps us smiling with them.

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Comedy Fantasy Romance

5 Replies to “Ghost Town”

  1. There are few ghost movies as good as “The Ghost and Mrs Muir”. I also loved the TV show “Topper” growing up, though it might not have passed the standards folks (some racy humor for those days!). It seems to be a reworking of “Ghost Whisperer”, too.

  2. If the film is little more than Gervais’ attempt to break out of the “cult following” category and find some mainstream American success, more power to him. He deserves it, and Ghost Town is an auspicious start.
    When it comes to success he seems climbing Ricky Gervais done it in style with
    Ghost town. Americans boosting their lives with tiny little tings happen. They are just arrived with so much enthusiasm.. Ghost town is well made cucumber to melt movie lovers’ taste. That is the only big reason I am waiting for this movie. My self is always habited and turn to http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com because it is easy and reliable.
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  3. Nell, I love your reviews. I rely on your judgment when I consider taking my grandkids to a movie. You mention Heart and Soul as a ghost movie. Do you mean Hearts and Soul? I just love that one.

  4. Thanks so much for the correction! The title of the movie is “Heart and Souls.” I’ll amend the review to correct the title. I love that movie, too.

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