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28th January
written by Steph
Ghost Town (2008)

"Your ghost hands is cold!"

What do you get if you cross the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol with the D-grade Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle The Ghost Whisperer and The Sixth Sense?  Pretty much, you get Ghost Town, a movie starring Ricky Gervais as a dour, and misanthropic dentist living in Manhattan (for a guy who hates people, way to pick one of the most heavily populated ISLANDS…).  Through a twist of fate, Ricky (I can’t remember his name in the movie) winds up with the ability to see all of the ghosts of the city, and all of them have some bit of unfinished business they want for him to resolve.  Enter Greg Kinear’s character (although to be truthful, the movie starts off with him), who was two-timing his wife when he was alive and wants Ricky to break up her current relationship, because he’s convinced the guy is bad news.  So, naturally Ricky and Greg decide the best way to make this happen is for Ricky to offer himself up as a more suitable option!  Only, this is going to be tricky because of how he’s not a people person and has been unforgivably rude to the wife (played by Tea Leoni) in the past (who, as fate would have it, lives in the same building as him). I know I’m being all glib, but take that as a reflection of my writing style rather than one of the movie.  The premise might not be all that original, and certain elements of the plot are pretty predictable (do you think that cold-hearted Ricky will wind up ultimately having a change in perspective and helping the poor beleaguered ghosts find closure?), but overall it was a light and fun comedy, perfect for a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Tony & I both laughed aloud several times, which sometimes is all you can ask for in a movie.  I do think most of the film’s success rests upon Gervais, who is pretty much perfectly suited to the role (and therefore shines), and who very convincingly sells himself as a rude, uninterested jerk (must have been all that practice over on the British Office…).  Also, it must be said that Gervais has great comedic timing, and there were a lot of little moments that had us giggling, even though I think we wouldn’t have found them nearly as funny had another actor been playing the part.  I am not convinced that he wasn’t just playing David Brent as a dentist, but I guess, stick with what you know (and with what works).  This isn’t one of those comedies that’s edgy or brash, but overall I’d say it works.  I mean, it's billed as a comedy, and we laughed quite a bit.  That's a success, right?  Plus, I really enjoyed the soundtrack (although strangely it seems it was never officially released for purchase... at the very least, I can't find it on Amazon, which seems like enough proof for me!), so there's that to look forward to as well (as opposed to Dan in Real Life, where the soundtrack was pretty much the ONLY good thing about the movie.  Here it's just an added bonus.). Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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