Published Sep 23, 2008There have been many, many movies made about people able to see ghosts who must then help them fulfil the business they left unfinished. Ghost Town resurrects the oft-used premise and though it does little to stand apart from other similar films, it manages to tell its story extremely well, and that is its own reward.
After briefly dying during a routine medical procedure, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) develops the ability to see the ghosts that roam the streets of NYC. Though he attempts to ignore the ghosts requests to help them resolve their unfinished business, Pincus becomes entangled with the recently deceased Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who convinces Pincus to help stop his widow (Tea Leoni) from marrying a man of whom he doesnt approve. Of course, Pincus cant help but fall for Herlihys widow but before she can love him, he must take his newfound ghost-seeing ability and learn to become a better man.
Everything about Ghost Town would seem to indicate a film as dull and lifeless as a reanimated corpse, including Ricky Gervais playing the typical Ricky Gervais character he made famous in the British version of The Office, and has been flogging ever since. But Gervais has perfected his awkward jerk shtick down to a science and manages to be endearing despite himself. Greg Kinnear, who also plays the type of pompous, smarmy character audiences have seen him play before, manages to create a note-perfect version of his semi-typical performance.
That is the real accomplishment of Ghost Town: it does exactly what it needs to do, never overstepping its bounds and never failing to entertain, resulting in one of the most well crafted romantic comedies in years. (Paramount)