Ghost Town (DVD)
Co-written and directed by David Koepp, Ghost Town is one of those romantic comedies that do their best not to look and sound like a romantic comedy. It offers no kisses, no declarations of love. It’s set in a New York that lacks an autumnal glow or the sounds of Sinatra to get us in the mood. Yet, while the movie avoids the feelgood soppiness one finds in contemporary romcoms, it doesn’t go in for downbeat cynicism, either. This is a light comedy full of dark people.
None is darker than Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), a lonely, rude and misanthropic dentist. Pincus is happiest when he has stuffed his patients’ mouths with cotton wool so they can’t speak. When he goes into hospital for a colonoscopy, he dies — but only for seven minutes. On returning to life, he finds he can see ghosts, and they can see him. These are needy ghosts who want Pincus to run errands and take messages to loved ones who are still alive.
The joke is that Bertram has no time for the living, much less the dead. One of the most persistent ghosts is the recently deceased Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), a smooth-talking philanderer in a tight tuxedo. He offers Bertram a deal: break up the relationship between his wife, Gwen (Téa Leoni), and her fiancé, Richard (Bill Campbell), and he will get the other ghosts off Pincus’s back.
While Gervais is not your traditional leading man, he gives a fine performance. Koepp and his co-writer, John Kamps, understand that he is not a comic based on punch lines, but a master of the comedy of embarrassment. Yet this role requires something more low-key and repressed. Gervais doesn’t make us squirm, just smile. In the film’s quieter moments, he exhibits the melancholic, hangdog expression of a young Hancock. Overall, Ghost Town is never quite as funny as it needs to be. After all, here is a film in which nobody likes each other. We don’t even like the two leads: Pincus is awful and the conniving Frank is worse. The only warmth comes from Leoni, who has that rare mix of beauty and on-screen likeability. The film may not end in a kiss, but, alas, it does end in a pat, life-affirming lesson about the need for love. It’s a modest but enjoyable effort; with a bit more guts or something to say, though, it could have been a small gem.
Starring - Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Alan Ruck, Toa Leoni, Jeff Hiller.
Director - David Koepp
This is wonderful comedy in which Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy, who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen.
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Not being a Ricky Gervais fan I avoided this movie for a while until I kept hearing people talk about how utterly brilliant it was, so I bought it and watched it and they were right. Gervais plays a dentist with issues... a part he plays superbly and his character is completely believable. The movie itself is a bit of Ghost / Sixth Sense medley, has some cracking one liners in it, some Gervais comedy moments and a decent enough story line to keep you watching till then end, which I must say I was disappointed with, not the ending itself but the fact it ended!
I thoroughly enjoyed Ricky Gervais' first outing as a lead man on the silver screen. It is his Britishness and sartorial wit which make this a definite repeat viewing. It has a cathartic feeling to it, leaving feeling good and as well as keeping you laughing throughout due to his unique brand of dry and self-effacing humour. Not a bad first attempt, looking forward to seeing more from him. Great supporting cast helps him no end in this film.
Really good film, If you like Ricky Gervais then you will really like this film.
A spirited romantic comedy, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), a cranky Manhattan dentist who develops the unwelcome ability to see dead people.
Really annying dead people. But when a smooth-talking ghost (Greg Kinnear) traps bertram into a romantic scheme involvong his widow gwen (tea leoni), they become entangled in a hilarious predicament between the now and the hereafter.