Ghost Town

In Ghost Town, British comedian Ricky Gervais lands his first lead role as the cranky dentist, Bertram Pincus. Mister Pincus is a lonely man with such horrible people skills that it opens up the film for Gervais to bring one of his most caustic characters to life. It’s comedy with a sting in the tail and quite a few big laughs but where the film really surprises is in its tender moments.

After a far from routine colonoscopy leaves him dead for several minutes, Pincus is transformed into a man with the ability to see the non-living. In this ghost world we find out that all the apparitions have unresolved issues that have left them stranded on earth and that they all share one thing, the ability to be very annoying. None more so than Frank Herlihy played by Greg Kinnear.  

Herlihy forces Pincus to help break up the impending nuptials between his living wife (Téa Leoni) and her new fiancé. This action transforms Pincus and the film then steers firmly towards rom com territory. The departure comes when Pincus is faced with resolving the problems of the large number of ghosts left hanging around. The resolution of these problems leads the film down a road of touching sentimentality that is in stark contrast to the acidic comedy that has come before. It also leads to the film’s most effective moments.

Writer/director David Koepp, who has a long and uneven history of penning screenplays on major blockbusters like Spider-Man, War Of The Worlds, Mission Impossible and the last Indiana Jones film shows that when tackling a smaller story, he can get the nuances just right. Ghost World is a fine mix of social commentary and comedic endeavor with a feel good finish that surprises in its effectiveness.
Rob Hudson
official website

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