Ghost Town: Movie Review
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, A Very Big
Dog, Alan Ruck
Director: David Koepp
Ricky Gervais takes the lead in this romantic comedy in his first step away
from supporting roles in the likes of Alias, Night at
the Museum and Stardust.
He's Bertram Pincus, a dentist who detests all kinds of social human contact;
a man who lives for the end of the day when he can sneak out of the office,
shunning a celebration and head home for the solitude and relative quiet of his
So it's a complete shock to him, when after going in for what he believes is
a routine surgery, to discover he's being stalked by all and sundry who just
want a few minutes of his time.
He discovers that for seven minutes while on the operating table, he
His resurrection has given him the power to communicate with the ghost world
which is spearheaded by Greg Kinnear's Frank Herlihy, who's killed at the start
of the film.
Finding himself in a similar situation to the uber-moppet from the Sixth
Sense, Pincus starts seeing dead people - everywhere.
And they're annoying the heck out of him with final wishes from beyond the
But it's Kinnear's character who pushes Pincus into a mission (and the pair
of them into Odd Couple territory) - to break up the impending marriage of his
widow Gwen (Tea Leoni); promising if he does this for him, the dead will leave
him alone for good.
Let's be frank about this - Ghost Town is going to rise or
fall on how you feel about Ricky Gervais.
If you enjoy his acerbic, socially awkward character, adore his sarcasm and
way with barbed quips, as well as his lack of people skills, (patented in the
likes of TheOffice and
Extras) then you'll pretty much be impressed with the film.
Otherwise, you may feel this hasn't risen above the standard romantic comedy
Don't get me wrong, there are some pretty funny bits during this film, and
the writing for Gervais' character is spot on - and his delivery of some of the
vitriol manages to fall into the comedy category rather than the vindictive
Whether it's the writer's intention or the whole situation, the film finds
itself with nowhere to go but the predictable route - as Pincus heads toward
redemption and the realisation that he needs other people to get through
Both Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear acquit themselves well in their supporting
roles, but this is clearly Gervais' star vehicle - and he, at times, appears to
channel some of the earlier silent comedy greats like Buster Keaton and
particularly Oliver Hardy with some of his frustrated expressions.
However, it's clearly an extension of the Ricky Gervais character which has
been cultivated over the past decade on TV and in stand up - a slightly
unlikeable buffoon, who's offensive and rude simply because he can get away with
One character, a naked ghost, seems to have been chosen just because he looks
exactly like Gervais' long term writing partner, Stephen Merchant - and left me
wondering whether Merchant wasn't available for the cameo role.
That said, there are some nice touches - including the fact all the
characters sneeze when they walk through the ghosts - as well as some great
Ultimately, though Ghost Town will amuse you for an hour or
so, but be prepared for the slight lull towards the end when the actual
realities of the plot kick in.