Ghost Town

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/10/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Likeable comedy with strong comic performances but it struggles to pull off its emotional scenes.

What's it all about?
Ricky Gervais gets his first big screen lead role as Dr Bertram Pincus, a misanthropic dentist who dies for seven minutes during a routine colonoscopy and wakes up to discover that he can see and hear dead people. It turns out that there are rather a lot of them and when word gets around, Pincus is besieged by ghosts who all want him to take care of their unfinished business so they can rest in peace.

Being a miserable git, Pincus declines to grant any of their requests, but one of the ghosts, unfaithful husband Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), makes him a deal, namely that he'll get all the ghosts to leave Pincus alone if Pincus helps break up the impending marriage of Frank's widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), who lives in Pincus' building. However, when Pincus meets Gwen he starts to fall for her himself, which places him in an awkward situation.

The Good
The script was clearly written with Gervais in mind, as he isn't called upon to stray much outside his grumpy misanthrope persona. As such, there are some very funny lines, particularly in the more successful early stages of the film. Tea Leoni is as adorable as always but there's zero chemistry between her and Gervais, so the emphasis is firmly on com rather than rom. (And thank God, because, really, who wants to see Gervais kissing Tea Leoni?) There's also strong comic support from Greg Kinnear and a hilarious, scene-stealing performance from Kristin Wiig as Pincus' ditzy surgeon.

The Bad
The main problem is that Gervais is so good at playing grumpy misanthropes that he fails to properly convince in the supposedly emotional final act. Like Groundhog Day, Ghost Town is meant to be about Pincus becoming a better person, but you're not entirely sure he's got the message.

Worth seeing?
Ghost Town is a watchable comedy with several good laughs, but Gervais can't pull off a convincing nice guy act, so the emotional climax falls flat.

Film Trailer

Ghost Town
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Content updated: 20/01/2020 07:11

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