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|Index||151 reviews in total|
A true delight. Ghost Town is David Koepp's most original script since Death Becomes Her and Death Becomes Her is one of my favorite comedies of all time. Daring, hilarious and elegant. Ghost Town is set in a more recognizable world, recognizable from many different angles, at times it feels we've seen all this before but what sets it apart is its heart. There is real heart here and a real intention. Ricky Gervais is fantastic as the "no people person" his unlikeable persona becomes the most likable aspect of the movie. I was taken by Gervais's predicament and I was never allowed to slip away. I was entertained and delighted throughout. 8/10
The story: A dentist, played by Ricky Gervais, is sick of dealing with
people. Not just a few people; everyone. Social niceties annoy him and
"just being friendly" is out of the question. But this doesn't prevent
annoying chatter from following him to his dental practice or even to
the hospital where he must undergo his first colonoscopy. While the
doctors roll him down a corridor on a gurney, chatting about frivolous
nonsense, he interrupts and insists on full anesthesia for the
The Problem: Once back on the street, he realizes he can see people that others cannot. He returns to the hospital and asks the doctor if anything unusual happened during the procedure. The doctor's reticence does not deter him from wrenching the truth from her that, technically speaking, he was dead for "almost 7 minutes". As a result, he can now see ghosts. And of course, they all want something from him.
The "something" that one particular ghost, Frank (Greg Kinnear), wants is for him to intervene in the romance of Frank's widow. At first reluctant to take on the task, he finally is blackmailed into to trying to break up her relationship and soon, he begins to enjoy the challenge.
The film rises above the hackneyed "invisible man" jokes and plays out as a fresh comedy romance. Not fresh on plot, admittedly, but on Gervais' style. True, it's the same character he always plays, but seeing it long-form and with the love interest,it's satisfying. The romance in the plot calls for a performance that offers more than a tortured look or a snarky comment - and Gervais delivers.
There are no weepy "But I love you" scenes. There are touching moments, however, that are more akin to "classic" Hollywood, rather than the big-budget, ruin-the-characters, 4th-installment, CGI festivals that are the hallmark of Tinseltown these days. Worth seeing. Our packed-house audience laughed out loud and applauded the ending.
Ricky Gervais, the star of the British "The Office" and "Extras", is
someone you wouldn't really expect to be on the big screen. Yet here he
is, delivering an hilarious and heartfelt performance in what one would
usually consider the most clichéd of genres: the romantic comedy.
In Ghost Town, Gervais plays Bertram Pincus, a socially awkward prick of a dentist who dies for seven minutes while going in for a routine colonoscopy. Through this miraculous experience he gains the annoying ability to see ghosts- all of whom want him to finish their business on Earth. In particular is Frank, the unfaithful husband of Gwen, a woman who lives in Bertram's building. Frank needs Bertram to separate Gwen from her new self-righteous do-gooder fiancé, and if Bertram can accomplish this Frank will make all the other ghosts go away.
Greg Kinnear and the wonderful Tea Leoni round out the lead characters as Frank and Gwen. All three (Gervais, Kinnear, and Leoni) get big laughs and are utterly charming. Indeed, it is no overstatement to call Ghost Town riotously funny- the laughs come big and often. Too often it turns out, because when Ghost Town tries to stray into the more dramatic or tender areas of the story it feels somewhat awkward and forced. The mistake was made of focusing too much on broad hilarity, so that when the movie really attempts to focus on story it seems strange that the humor is suddenly gone. The film never becomes anything more than just a silly little trifle.
Yet there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What we get is a thoroughly entertaining tale with a fascinating lead character. Add in the performances of the three leads and you have a fully satisfying movie-going experience. I would probably give this film a 7.5 rating, but since that isn't allowed and I'm not feeling an 8, I'll go with- 7/10 stars!!!
While this movie is comedy, it's not really a major "laugh-fest" or
anything - but it is very well done and interesting to watch. If you're
a fan of Ricky Gervais, he's only an actor here, not the writer or
producer - so don't expect lots of Gervais-inspired humor. However, do
expect a clever and charming romantic comedy.
Basically, the movie is about a dentist (Gervais) who temporarily dies during a routine medical procedure. This experience gives him the ability to see all the dead people who are milling about. One of them is resourceful enough to get Gervais' character to interfere with his former wife's engagement ... and the story progresses from there.
Gervais puts in a great performance as the socially repugnant dentist. Unpleasant as he is, he's fun to watch and you want to see what his every next move will be. Greg Kinnear (who plays the ghost pressuring Gervais) does a good job too; he's pretty believable in his role. The other characters are more or less one-dimensional and not quite as interesting. However, together with Gervais and Kinnear, everyone more or less of shines.
While the story is a bit predictable, the interesting characters, charming nature of the tale and all-around quality of movie-making make this film worth a watch.
The main character, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is a Manhatten
Dentist and a misanthrope. When the Dentist he shares an office with
invites Bert to some cake and champagne to celebrate the birth of his
child, Bert looks at him like he's a panhandler asking for change and
tells him to "start without me".
When Bert gets a routine colonoscopy, he reacts adversely & dies for 7 minutes, but is revived. However, the result is he is able to see dead people. These aren't just any ordinary ghosts, but ghosts who continue to haunt their previous Manhatten neighborhoods, where they died, until something happens in the real world that will allow them to move on.
One such ghost is Frank (Greg Kinnear), a philandering Manhatten playboy type, who is pestering Bert to intervene on his behalf to get his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni) to break up with her fiancé, because Frank "thinks he's just after her for her money".
Bert agrees, but then falls for Gwen himself, and gradually is transformed from a curmudgeon into a much better person (shades of Ebeneezer Scrooge!).
This may sound like a tired plot that's been overdone many times before, but somehow it works very nicely here.
I thought Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni, & Greg Kinnear were all excellent. Gervais was particularly good as the lead. His understated British comedic talents were well suited to the role. The supporting cast was great also. Kristen Wiig (from SNL) turned in a hilarious role as the surgeon who botched the colonoscopy.
What I liked most about this was that it worked on a number of levels, as a very good comedy, a ghost story, a romance, and a story of redemption.
Go check it out at the theater. You'll be glad you did.
Ghost Town is a new film that sounds like it either is a western, or a horror film, but it is actually neither. Instead it is a romantic comedy that has ghosts in it. The story revolves around a socially awkward and obnoxious dentist named Bertram Pincus, who after a medical procedure can see ghosts and one in particular named Frank, who tries to set Bertram up with his now single wife named Gwen. Frank coaches Bertram along, but ultimately to get Gwen to fall for him, Bertram, will have to shed his icy image and become more of a caring and helpful person. Ghost Town opened to really good reviews pretty much all around, but unfortunately it is doing really poorly at the box office. I think this is a romantic comedy that will appeal to a really large number of people because it is a feel good film, has some really good comic moments and because of the good performances, especially by Ricky Gervais who plays Bertram. The premise of the film is almost like The Sixth Sense meets Cyrano de Bergerac, but at the same time it also does have a lot of originality and some neat plot twists and turns. A lot of the comedies that have come out this year and that have been successful were more or less cruder more adult fare comedies, and while I enjoyed a lot of them personally, I realized that they would definitely not be for everyone. Ghost Town on the other hand will work for both crowds because it is still very entertaining and funny, but not overly crass, crude or risky enough to prevent more conservative viewers, or even kids from seeing it. I think a lot of people will like the romantic part of the film and I think a lot of people will also enjoy Ricky Gervais as Bertram and just how un likable he is and how funny he is to watch. The subplot with the ghosts is also a neat twist to the film that adds a lot of laughs and originality to the film as well. This is one of the best feel good comedies of the year, that like I said, will appeal to many different people and I think once it is rediscovered on DVD that it will become a sleeper hit because of how good it is and I can really seeing this being a crowd favourite and for obvious reasons because of the great performances and the feel good yet funny script. This is definitely one to see if it is still playing in theatres near you, or rent it in five months when it hits video shelves.
What really made this rather familiar story work for me was British comedian Ricky Gervais in the part of a grouchy NY dentist who starts seeing ghosts after he has a peculiar mishap during a routine colonoscopy. This is a lightweight comedy/drama/love story with elements that we've seen plenty of times before, but as I said I thought Gervais made all the difference, and it's his picture entirely. Had the part been played by Adam Sandler, Jim Carey, or some other over-exposed celebrity, it wouldn't have been as effective. Greg Kinnear is really an afterthought here as a dead man who keeps appealing to Gervais to help break up the inevitable wedding of his widow (Tea Leoni). *** out of ****
A strong formula comedy that gets an extra jolt of originality from an
improvisatory performance by Ricky Gervais.
Gervais plays a Manhattan dentist with an over-sensitive gag reflex who hates people. When he accidentally dies for seven minutes during a routine medical procedure, he finds upon waking that he can see and converse with dead people, who want his help in finishing up unresolved business. One of these, a smarmy, cheating husband (played by Greg Kinnear) wants him to help prevent his widow (Tea Leoni) from marrying a guy he doesn't like. Guess what...Gervais falls in love with her himself.
There's a lot of standard obligatory plot in "Ghost Town" that's specific to the genre: we have to sit through the requisite scenes of Gervais thinking he's going crazy because he can see dead people; he and Leoni have a falling out when she thinks he's tricking her just to get close to her, etc. But the acting is so good, especially from Gervais and Leoni, who absolutely lights up the screen whenever she's on it, that it's easy to forget we've seen much of this before.
One of my favorite parts of the film was the brief but hilarious performance of Kristen Wiig, who plays Gervais's doctor. You may remember her as Kathryn Heigle's passive-aggressive colleague in "Knocked Up," and though she always does the same schtick, she makes me laugh every time.
The morbid comedy or, the comedy in which half of its characters are
actually ghosts, can be a tough sale for most audiences, and amongst
the biggest cynics of anything to do with cinematic spirits haunting
the screen is I. The reasoning behind this hard-to-sell concept is
simple; the dead, that is, the spirit likeness of a human being, in
modern society are usually treated with grave seriousness. From the
grim tales of the Bible to images of mourning families trying to
'celebrate' during a wake; the concepts of the afterlife and comedy
quite often juxtapose to the point where bemusement brought on through
absurdity is more commonplace than laughter. Therefore it was no
surprise earlier this year when romantic comedy Over Her Dead Body
failed to deliver much laughs or even romance at all, instead only
taking the two clashing ideas and, well, clashing them together hoping
it would all work out in the end (it didn't). While Ghost Town doesn't
necessarily do anything remotely different from the aforementioned
feature at least concerning the script's comedy department- it is in
the movie's emotional core and characters present that such clashing of
half-baked spiritual plotting with slapstick comedy gets softened into
something a lot more digestible. The result is a story that fails to
register on an engaging level based upon its basic premise alone, but
eventually more than makes up for it with a sweet romance that tickles
just as much as it warms the heart.
Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is a sad, lonely man, and although he would argue otherwise, has nobody to blame but himself. A cynically jaded misanthrope who goes out of his way to avoid all human contact, Pincus doesn't necessarily describe himself as a people person and doesn't want others to think so either. After a routine colonoscopy goes wrong in the anaesthetic department, Bertram clinically dies for seven minutes and wakes up a changed man; or at least the same man in a changed world. Now blessed with the ability to see the dead and communicate with them, Pincus not only has to deal with the living, but the dead too. Sure enough, it's pure baloney, and it certainly starts off that way with little hints at going anywhere else. Thankfully however, it's not long until certain romantic elements creep in involving recently widowed (you can hopefully see how this occurs) Gwen which allows both Bertram and the movie as a whole to shed their silly outer layer to reveal some emotional depth. Of course, the walking dead thing continues on throughout the entire feature, but thankfully it isn't as tacked on as you might imagine. Plus, linking the ghost plot with a living, breathing core, the movie brings both elements to a close effectively that capitalises on the development that was given to each beforehand. Yes, it's possibly the weakest element of the feature, but that's not really saying much at all.
By the far the greatest thing about Ghost Town however lies in its comedy, which is fronted by lead man Ricky Gervais, who teams up alongside Greg Kinnear to create a movie with both class and wit, not to mention a little bit of welcome shtick. Gervais, who goes about his role here with about the same mentality as he has so far implemented in his TV roles, delivers a wonderful performance here that embodies his character's comedic cynicism with absolute precision. If you already know the comedian then you know that much of his charm and natural comic ability comes from his timing and delivery; he doesn't necessarily try to make you laugh, and it isn't in the things he says, but how he says them, and when he does so. Through this Gervais makes sure not only to deliver his jokes with enough frequency to keep amusement levels high, but he crafts a character out of such moments too; the jokes never cheapen his persona, but only strengthen it.
Backing star Kinnear plays Gervais' ghost buddy-of-sorts, and while he does a lot of background work, nevertheless creates a strong enough character himself, doing well not to take focus from the lead, and yet making sure to create something interesting to look at when the focus shifts from time to time. Téa Leoni provides as the film's love interest for Gervais, and while the two never quite click as a romantic match per se, the director knows when to cut and call it a day, establishing romance without ever ruining the moment. Leoni is always comfortable in her position and shares some humorous and touching interplay with her co-stars which further the scripts warm, humanist tones.
In the end I was pleasantly surprised by the time the credits rolled. Not just from the fact that I felt genuinely fulfilled by a straight forward comedy about ghosts, but that I was often moved by what was presented to me. Of course, Ghost Town, although largely a ghost movie by façade and pure premise, is actually far from such a movie. If anything, the real core here is always focused upon using the memories of those ghosts to create tangible, living breathing characters that feel emotionally resonating and of course, are side stitchingly funny. Sure enough it's over the top, silly and at times even a little tiresome, but in the end, such ideas are justified by the payoff and development of character that is established as a result. In this way Ghost Town achieves a sense of relevancy that most movies of the subgenre fail to reach, managing to speak to us through comedy and romance that comes together to create a feature that is simply good fun to watch. With an unforgettable performance by Gervais, and enough heat between characters to justify much of the film's otherwise ridiculous elements, Ghost Town is a surprise hit; charming, delightful and full of life.
- A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After dying for a little less then seven minutes after going in for
some minor surgery. Dentist Pincus begins to see dead people. The dead
people, finally having someone who can see and hear them, try to get
him to finish their business so they can finally leave this world. Only
problem is Pincus is a loner who hates people.
It's Ricky Gervais' dry humour and wit that seem to elevate Ghost Town and make it stand out in the crowd of numerous other clichéd romantic comedies. That's not saying that this film isn't clichéd, it has them left right and centre. Although with Gervais taking a different approach to the material then what most other leading men would do in this situation, Ghost Town becomes a film that people will actually enjoy and not roll their eyes at.
We start the film off with the death of Greg Kinnear, and if you think that is a spoiler then you have no idea what this movie is about. After that we are treated to the 'people person' that is our lead character. We get this immediately with his treatment to his patients and other co-workers. Although, after his surgery, he opens his eyes and start seeing ghosts around the town. This is when the clichéd bits start kicking in. With every film in which a living character can see and speak with ghosts, you get the obligatory "Is he crazy?" as people around him see him speak to no one. We've seen this stuff over and over again and while it would obviously happen, it's not funny and that's the difference. Ghost Town tries to get a laugh every time it happens.
You know those films when people walk through a ghost and they get the chills, while this film has that, they put a little twist on it. The character sneezes. For whatever reason, it's never explained, but I guess when you're dealing with this subject matter you can start creating your own rules. Speaking of rules, Ghost Town follows the basic flow chart of every rom-com that has been out there before it. So don't really expect to see something new.
This is Gervais first leading film, after having successful television shows with "The Office" and "Extras" he is branching out to film. This is an interesting choice for his first outing, and while it does work, I would have liked to see him do something different. He sure has the comedic chops to tackle different forms of comedy. He has his own spin on things and it's all in the delivery. With comedic actors like Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy failing to get laughs (Love guru, Meet Dave) it's nice to see the light shine on someone else. Someone that is currently not in the Apatow crew either.
As with the talking to no one bits, there is also the "tell me something that only I would know" routine. Although, I will give Koepp props, because this time it doesn't work out so well. I like Koepp as a director, Stir Of Echoes and the Trigger Effects are both well made films. This is his first time writing and directing a comedy. If you want to count Toy Soldiers as a comedy then go ahead, he did write that. He does a decent job of pacing the film with the laughs and adding the emotional punches when it's needed. As most rom-coms do, it takes a dramatic turn and the comedy goes away for about 15 minutes, Maybe you'll need a Kleenex, maybe not.
While Ghost Town does follow the basics for a romantic comedy, it does have the s slight advantage of having Ricky Gervais on it's side. If you've never seen his material, Ghost Town is an alright choice to start with, but I still recommend his television work over this. You'll get some laughs from here, Tea Leoni holds her own and Greg Kinnear has the hardest part in the entire film. So in the end, the film works and does what it's suppose to do.
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