102 min. Rated PG-13
Directed by David Koepp
(Director; Trigger Effect, Stir of Echoes) (Writer; Spider-Man, Panic Room, Carlito's Way)
It hard to find a good "date" movie in theaters; many films think they're perfect for it, but really... not so much. Given the fact that this movie is extremely unoriginal and has been done many times before, is cliche almost to the point of plagiarism, it still manages to succeed on every level of quality filmmaking. It's a sweet little movie, and happens to the perfect "date" movie... who knew?
Ricky Gervais is a dentist who has a "Melvin Udall-I hate the world" complex, and during a routine procedure at the hospital, dies... for 7 minutes... (well, a bit less) This of course leads to him having the ability to see dead people! Ghosts, in fact, who of course, have unfinished business for which they need his help. In steps Greg Kinnear, a ghost who enlists Ricky's help to try and stop his living wife from marrying the "wrong" guy. Ricky, after many an encounter with these annoying needy ghosts, agrees to help... thus giving us the main plot of the film.
Now, if you seen Ghost, with Patrick Swayze, and Heart and Souls with Robert Downy Jr.... you've seen this entire movie. It got on my nerves after a while, realizing how much a blatant rip off of these great '90's flicks, Ghost Town really is. Maybe it was meant to be a "re-make" of Heart and Souls (which is almost plotline for plotline the same), but who knows. The film gets so cliche that even at the end of the 2nd Act, when all seems lost and things are going well for our characters... it rains!!! Well, it hails actually... but that's the ultimate end of Act 2 visual marker to show that things aren't going well.
Now... putting those qualms aside... the film becomes increasingly enjoyable the further on we go. Ricky Gervais turns in a phenomenal performance, where you want to punch him dead in the face, and give him a big hug all at the same time. He's great! Even though you pretty much know right where the movie's headed, each scene is handled with such delicacy and inspiration; you can't help but start to fall in love with what you're watching. And how can you resist a main character who truly makes you want to laugh every other minute?
The movie doesn't rely on sight gags for its comedy. The situations each character finds themselves in does the trick. Then watching them get executed flushes out plenty of laughter. The characters are believable, funny, and each manage to touch you at moments where you'd least expect it.
It's completely a been-there-done-that, as cliche as it gets film, but it happens to be a very good, quality, funny, and touching been-there-done-that, cliche as it gets film! There's comedy, there's a love story, there's drama, it's got a bit of everything; and in the opinion of this reviewer, it's extraordinarily fresh, despite it being stale.
Ghost Town Stars:
Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, Alan Ruck & Billy Campbell
This movie is similar to: GHOST