“Ghost Town” is Charming in a Negative Way

Genres: Comedy and Science Fiction/Fantasy
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.
Release Date: September 19th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, sexual humor and drug references. Distributors: Paramount Pictures

Directed by: David Koepp

JJ Rating: B+

Rick Gervais, Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear in DreamWorks Pictures' Ghost Town – 2008
A cantankerous dentist Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) goes in for a reoutine check up and things go amiss. He dies for a moment, and because of that he sees dead people. Except they are not freaky and throw up but they want things from him and he’s not really good at being giving. Ghost Town.

I saw this trailer and instantly I thought of Heart and Souls with Robert Downey Jr. as the kind child turn cold hearted meany head. But there are always stories that pop back up, what matters is how they are told. So since I like Ricky Gervais I decided to give it a go.

I was thoroughly entertained and not because the storyline was so profound, but because Ricky Gervais was hysterical. His nonchalant, stuck up, don’t like you attitude was perfectly, obnoxiously funny. He interacted well with his costars and stole the show. Sometimes the supporting cast steal the show, but this time the main character does as he should and commands the attention of every scene and demand that people notice his babbling, because in that babbling were very funny moments.

Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear do a good job of support him throughout the film. They have their funny moments as well. Kinnear is just a disgruntled ghost who didn’t appreciate all that he had prior and Leoni couldn’t move on with her life and instead gets stuck in a relationship that seems a bit hollow and meaningless, especially when Gervais comes in and uses his dry humor to point that out.

There are differences between this film and Heart and Souls and that allowed me to view it without always comparing. I really enjoyed Heart and Souls so that’s saying a lot. There was a different feel with Ghost Town. It was more of a comedy and less dramatic, until the end and Heart and Souls was more dramatic and heartfelt and somewhat comedic.

The storyline was kind of weak. The ghosts that were introduced could have been fleshed out a bit more and given a bit more heart felt moments at the end when everything comes full circle. Though there are some little surprises here in there, Ghost Town, as a whole, is thoroughly predictable. The little surprises added to the unique factor of the film and gave it it’s own self. It could have been better written but not better executed. I think Gervais outshined everyone and he held this movie up on his shoulders; and if people enjoy it it’s because of him and his talent to make people laugh.

One of the best parts is where he goes back to the hospital to ask them if anything peculiar happened during the procedure. The way the doctor tries to explain it was fantastic silly. It’s like I can’t believe she’s explaining it that way, but oh this is funny. There is also a scene where he speaks to one of the ghost and someone notices and he has to explain why he said what he said, and the explanation is a run-on thought that is painful-funny hybrid.

I’m a little iffy on owning Ghost Town but I enjoyed it and would surely watch it if it came on the telly (haha). I did laugh and I really enjoyed the gagging scenes because Gervais just does that so stupidly great, how can one not laugh? Ghost Town was a civilly amusing film that had a handful of negativity that was rot with humor and a pinch of heart that gave it that tolerable aw quality. It was no Heart and Souls but it was charming in its own right.

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