Ghost Town Delivers Laughs, Heart


Imagine your life being turned upside down when you leave the hospital after a routine procedure and discover you can now SEE and SPEAK to dead people! How would you deal with this newfound ability? Would you have fun with it? Would it scare the crap out of you?

We’ve already seen a similar premise in the Bruce Willis film The Sixth Sense, but with the new romantic-comedy, Ghost Town, the concept of seeing dead people gets a revamp that is both funny and touching.

Ricky Gervais sees dead people.  And no, one of them is NOT Bruce Willis.
Ricky Gervais sees dead people. And no, one of them is NOT Bruce Willis.

Ricky Gervais (BBC’s The Office, Extras) plays Bertram Pincus, and cranky, frustrated dentist who has no interest in people or their problems. Gervais plays the role with gusto. His character only slightly less detestable than Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) from As Good As It Gets.

So what would have happened if Melvin started seeing dead people? Espcially one quite persistent dead dude played by Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine)? They would probably do exactly what happens to Pincus: annoy the hell out of him.

If the kid from Sixth Sense had a similar issue, he wouldn’t have been terrified of the dead people around him; he’d have been pissed at them.

Gervais, Leoni, and Kinnear in Ghost Town
Gervais, Leoni, and Kinnear in Ghost Town

Ghost Town utilizes the conventional romantic-comedy storyline, but adds the supernatural twist as a means to elevate it from ordinary films of the genre. Enter Tea Leoni (Deep Impact, Spanglish) as Kinnear’s widow and Pincus’ on again-off again love interest. Toss in a healthy dose of mummified penis jokes and you’ve got yourself a rip-roaring good time!

Maybe it’s just me, but Ricky Gervais sold the movie for me. He’s funny, his British, and he’s a refreshing change from the Seth Rogens and Paul Rudds of the world. His banter with his doctors, the dead, and Leoni are at times laugh-out-loud funny.

Directed by David Koepp, who also wrote Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park, and many, many others, Ghost Town is a refreshing change of pace for the writer/director mostly known for creating summer blockbuster fare (is this a run-on sentence?).

Special features include:

Commentary by David Koepp and Ricky Gervais

It’s always fun to listen to these. Especially with a comic as entertaining as Gervais.

Making Ghost Town

Need I explain what this featurette is about? No. Okay.

Ghostly Effects

A disappointing three-minute feature about the special effects in the film. No audio. No commentary. Kinda dull.

Some People Can Do It

Outtakes! Bloopers! Funny stuff! And at seven minutes, it’s highly enjoyable.

Ghost Town is unconventional in its conventionality. It’s hilarious, touching, and creative. Ghost Town scares up an A. Oh, and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) is also in this film and she’s quite hot.

Ghost Town
Dreamworks/ Spyglass Entertainment
Starring Rickey Gervais, Tea Leoni, Greg Kinnear, Kristen Wiig, Alan Ruck, and Billy Campbell
Rated PG-13 for some strong language, sexual humor, and drug references (the f-word is used twice, surprising for a PG-13)
Running Time = 102 minutes

And here’s the trailer:

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