By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is a blast from the past - ish. I watched this film again a couple of nights ago and I felt like I owed it a review.
The film debuted in 2008 and I was a huge fan back then. I have probably viewed it approximately five times since then mainly because it is easy-watching and I love Ricky Gervais.
Am I just blind-sided by being a fan of the British comedian or is it genuinely a great film? Well, I have finally come to a conclusion…
Ghost Town stars Ricky Gervais as Bertram Pincus who is a misanthropic dentist with people skills that 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.
As the film begins, immediately we see a different style from Gervais that is far from his comfort zone. When he is delivering his own comic dialogue, he is majestic. In Ghost Town, he is less at ease with the formulaic rom-com. That said; he still holds his own in an inspired cast that provides enough laughs to deliver exactly what the film sets out to do.
Gervais’ co-stars support him in his quest of a successful rom-com through enabling his character to provide a few belly-laugh scenes. Téa Leoni plays the love interest of both Pincas and her dead husband Frank (Greg Kinnear). Téa ‘s character Gwen is the connectable element in this crazy plot as she brings the compassionate nature. Her character is layered and that's rare in a movie of this type. On the other end of the spectrum, Ricky and Greg simply bounce off each other from one comic scene to the next. Their chemistry is what makes the film tick as they are both riddled with sarcasm and wit which will make The Office fans delighted.
The scenes between Leoni and Gervais—most notably in which they examine a mummy together and again at Gwen’s flat with her ginormous dog—lift the occasionally pedestrian script to another level. David Koepp, directing from his own script, is best known as a screenwriter of blockbusters (Spider-Man and the last Indiana Jones movie). It seems David struggles with this laboured script because bar a few great scenes, the film rarely comes ‘alive’.
However, I will give Koepp credit where it’s due; his kicker at the end of the 90-minute feature is as good as ever. Téa comments “my tooth hurts when I smile”, Gervais softly quips back “I can fix that for you”. Those final two lines are probably the best from the entire script; perhaps even from most rom-coms. They leave us convinced that even an attractive and sophisticated lady like Téa Leoni, could fall for the likes of a miserable and sarcastic man like Gervais. If that’s not heart-warming, I don’t know what is!
Cineroom’s Rating: 3 Stars
Ghost Town is now available on DVD and online worldwide – certificate12A