Ghost Town

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Ghost Town
Review (-/10)
(By Paul Fischer)

The 2008 Toronto International Film Festival continues with its usually eclectic array of films. David Koepp's "Ghost Town" is a very mainstream offering for Toronto, yet it's quirky and wry enough to appeal to audiences outside of the commercial box.

Ricky Gervais is sublime as rather unhappy dentist Bertram Pincus, a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts.

Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy [Greg Kinnear], who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen [Tea Leoni]. That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle of sorts.

Gervais has this uncanny ability to take very sad and isolated characters, and gives them depth of humanity and a wry comic bent. "Ghost Town" is partly a romantic comedy, and partly a film about a sad character that discovers that life, ultimately, revolves around more than himself. Koepp's script is sharp yet emotionally truthful amidst the film's comic subversiveness.

Yet one wonders how effective the film would have been without the ingenious Gervais who skillfully embodies pathos and human isolation better than most Hollywood stars. He is superb and carries the film with authenticity and of course deadpan comic timing.

Leoni is also fabulous here, vulnerably, touching and gracefully funny, and the film is beautifully directed by Koepp who avoids a lot of razzle dazzle, but rather focuses on character and the perfect tone. A gloriously entertaining, deliciously funny and genuinely moving film, Ghost Town deserves to be seen and savored.
 

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