102 min. RatedPG-13
Directed by David Koepp
(Director; TriggerEffect, Stir of Echoes) (Writer; Spider-Man, Panic Room, Carlito's Way)
It hard to find a good "date" movie in theaters; manyfilms think they're perfect for it, but really... not so much. Given the factthat this movie is extremely unoriginal and has been done many times before, iscliche almost to the point of plagiarism, it still manages to succeed onevery level of quality filmmaking. It'sa sweet little movie, and happens to the perfect "date" movie... who knew?
Ricky Gervais is a dentist who has a "Melvin Udall-I hatethe world" complex, and during a routine procedure at the hospital, dies... for 7minutes... (well, a bit less) This of course leads to him having the ability tosee dead people! Ghosts, in fact, who of course, have unfinished business forwhich they need his help. In steps Greg Kinnear, a ghost who enlists Ricky'shelp to try and stop his living wife from marrying the "wrong" guy. Ricky, after many an encounter with these annoying needyghosts, agrees to help... thus giving us the main plot of the film.
Now, if you seen Ghost, with Patrick Swayze, and Heart andSouls with Robert Downy Jr.... you've seen this entire movie. It got on my nerves after a while, realizinghow 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 almostplotline for plotline the same), but who knows. The film gets so cliche thateven at the end of the 2nd Act, when all seems lost and things aregoing well for our characters... it rains!!! Well, it hails actually... but that'sthe ultimate end of Act 2 visual marker to show that things aren't going well.
Now... putting those qualms aside... the film becomesincreasingly enjoyable the further on we go. Ricky Gervais turns in aphenomenal performance, where you want to punch him dead in the face, and givehim a big hug all at the same time. He's great! Even though you pretty muchknow right where the movie's headed, each scene is handled with such delicacyand inspiration; you can't help but start to fall in love with what you'rewatching. And how can you resist a main character who truly makes you want tolaugh every other minute?
The movie doesn't rely on sight gags for its comedy. Thesituations each character finds themselves in does the trick. Then watchingthem get executed flushes out plenty of laughter. The characters arebelievable, funny, and each manage to touch you at moments where you'd leastexpect it.
It's completely a been-there-done-that, as cliche as itgets film, but it happens to be a very good, quality, funny, and touchingbeen-there-done-that, cliche as it gets film! There's comedy, there's a lovestory, there's drama, it's got a bit of everything; and in the opinion of thisreviewer, it's extraordinarily fresh, despite it being stale.
Ghost Town Stars:
Ricky Gervais, GregKinnear, Tea Leoni, Alan Ruck & Billy Campbell
This movie is similar to: GHOST(1990)...HEART AND SOULS (1993)... JUST LIKE HEAVEN (2005) ...SERENDIPITY(2001)Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times