In about 6 seconds, I will lose a lot of geek cred… 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… I’m not a fan of Ricky Gervais. There, I said it. Also, I have yet to get into either the British or American versions of The Office. ::gasp:: I know, a travesty. That said, I caught David Koepp‘s Ghost Town at the Toronto Film Festival, and I didn’t hate it. I also didn’t love it either. It’s your paint-by-numbers romantic comedy, with a little dry humor thrown in for good measure.
In Ghost Town, Gervais plays a loner dentist who dies for seven minutes during a routine operation, and is now able to see ghosts. Living in New York City, you can imagine there are a lot of ghosts. The ghosts need Gervais to help them fix the various unfinished business before they are allowed to enter the after life. And once all of the ghosts realize that someone can see them, they won’t leave Gervais alone. So for Ricky, it is a nightmare instead of a gift. Ricky just wants to be left alone.
Greg Kinnear plays Frank, a cheating husband who narrowly escapes being crushed by a falling air conditioner only to be hit by a bus a second later (movie cliche #1). Frank offers to get rid of all the ghosts if Ricky can fix his problem, which is to scare off his ex-wife’s (played by Téa Leoni) “money grubbing” human rights lawyer fiancée. And of course, when a connection develops between Ricky and Gwen, the film goes into full-on romantic comedy mode.
Ghost Town is a movie that you’ve already seen. It’s a romantic comedy version of Ghost, with Just Like Heaven and Roxanne thrown in for good measure. It’s not bad, but the whole thing feels below Gervais. It’s like the guy from the British Office got trapped in a generic American romantic comedy. The main gag involves Gervais being caught by others talking to “thin air” and having to talk his way out of it. You can imagine that this gets old pretty fast. Kristen Wiig is wonderful as the quirky spray-on tanning surgeon who is responsible, but not legally liable for Ricky’s short lived death.
/Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10