Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ghost Town (2008)

Movie quotes:
Bertram (Ricky Gervais): Look at Pappah. They buried him with everything a dead guy doesn’t need: household pets, money. They even put his penis in a big jar. Why would they do that?
Gwen (Tea Leoni): You saw that penis; it wouldn’t have fit in a little jar.

At a glance:
How you react to the abrasive Ricky Gervais will determine whether or not you enjoy this satisfying high-concept rom-com about a dentist who talks to dead people

Our review:
During a routine operation, dentist Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) dies for seven minutes. Afterward, his cloistered New York existence is constantly mobbed by dead people needing him to resolve outstanding business. One of them, Frank (Greg Kinnear) convinces Bertram to break up the pending re-marriage of his wife Gwen (Tea Leoni). But Bertram ends up falling in love with her. Off-beat rom-com successfully contrasts the abrasiveness of Gervais (and Kinnear) with the grounded sincerity of Leoni (who, by the way, just keeps getting better and better with each film appearance). As good as Leoni’s performance is, too much of the film is spent in proving that Gervais is unlikeable, while too little of the central concept is mined. Waits a long time, perhaps too long, to redeem Gervais, but when it happens, it feels very good. Writer/director David Koepp adds to the many strings in his bow with this dabble into romantic comedy – most of his other efforts (like the screenplays for Panic Room, Secret Window, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) have been more in the genres of action/suspense, but they always are strong in the area of characterization. Rating: 2.75 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Enjoyable as it is to see Gervais trying (and often succeeding) to make something of the mediocre dialogue, it’s not enough."
- David Jenkins (Time Out)

"Ricky Gervais and mainstream Hollywood rom-com are initially uneasy bedfellows but ultimately, and largely due to co-star Téa Leoni, it's a match made in its star's brand of comic purgatory."
- Leigh Singer (Channel 4 Film)

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