Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ghost Town

I'm not a big Ricky Gervais fan.

Sure, I love The Office--the U.S. version, but I've never quite gotten Gervais' awkward, halting humor.

Until today.

Ghost Town is filled with great characters--living, dead and canine--but it is pretty much the Ricky Gervais show. And what a show it is! The role of Bertram Pincus, a dentist who avoids human contact and interaction at all costs, is tailor-made for Gervais. His dryly acerbic delivery had me laughing out loud--and his tender turn-around brought tears to my eyes. Although an unlikely romantic lead, Gervais manages to create an odd and oddly affecting character.

During a routine diagnostic procedure, Pincus is clinically dead for just under seven minutes. But the experience leaves him with a highly unwanted aftereffect: now not only does he have to deal with the living, but he is afflicted with the ability to see dead people as well.

I thoroughly (and surprisingly!) enjoyed this movie. It's funny and sweet and heartwarming and sad and touching and ultimately uplifting. Part The Sixth Sense, Ghost and A Christmas Carol, Ghost Town fires on all cylinders and hits the ground running. In addition to Gervais, Ghost Town boasts a great supporting cast. Greg Kinnear as a tuxedoed ghost named Frank can do the glib and dapper role sleepwalking. Tea Leoni offers just the right mix of wit and winsomeness as Frank's widow Gwen. Kristen Wiig is hysterical as usual as Bertram's surgeon and even Billy Campbell knocks it out of the park in a small role as Gwen's way too perfect love interest, Richard.

Co-written and directed by David Koepp, Ghost Town is brightly and briskly paced with a balance of humor and pathos, sweet and sour, light and dark. The cinematography of Fred Murphy really captures the charm and beauty of New York City. I've always found the Big Apple a bit overwhelming--but Ghost Town manages to make New York City's appeal apparent even to me.

And the film about changing one's outlook had another effect on me as well:

I am now a big fan of Ricky Gervais!


  1. I actually like the British version of The Office better than the American one. There's just something about Gervais' cluelessness as a boss that's hilarious. So I'll have to check this out.

  2. Well, he charmed this non-fan into being a fan--so I'm sure you'll love it!