Ghost Town

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Ghost Town
Review (6.5/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

"Ghost Town" stars Ricky Gervais as Bertram Pincus, a dentist who undergoes a routine colonoscopy, dies for 7 minutes, and wakes up with the ability to communicate with the dead. One of the dead people he sees is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear). Frank wants Pincus to help break up the forthcoming marriage of his widow Gwen (Tea Leoni) to a human rights lawyer on the basis that he thinks the lawyer just has his hand in his widow's pocketbook. (In reality, he just doesn't want his former wife getting remarried.) Pincus comes up with the brilliant idea (or at least brilliant in his mind) of planting a seed of doubt in her mind by making her fall for him. The only problem is that Pincus has a bit of a personality problem. He doesn't like people and he's a bit of a jerk about it. So, the prospect of making Gwen fall for him proves to be problematic. Of course, in the end, Pincus falls for her. Things get even more complicated when the time comes for him to explain that he's been in cahoots with her dead husband. Cue the laughter.

I'm not going to say that I didn't like this movie. I laughed out loud more than a few times, and I'll give credit to Ricky Gervais for giving me reason to laugh. Although he didn't have the best material to work with, his delivery was right on. But for every time I laughed, there were equal amounts of time where I found myself groaning or rolling my eyes. Some of the jokes were just so low-brow I felt they were beneath the cast. Here's Ricky Gervais gagging because the dog stinks. Here's Tea Leoni picking up a big bag of dog dropping. Here's Ricky and Tea making jokes about the size of a mummy's "organ". And so on. There were just too many instances where I felt the comedy was juvenile and it ended up being the downfall of the movie for me. That, and the fact that the movie had nothing original to say. It was almost as though the writers ripped off bits and pieces of other movies and assembled them to create "Ghost Town". First, there are the obvious comparisons -- "Ghost" and "The Sixth Sense". The whole "talking to the dead and helping them solve their problems before they move on" plot was something we've all seen before. Except this time it's played for laughs. There were times during the movie when I could almost imagine Ricky Gervais as a grown-up version of Haley Joel Osment -- only funnier.

I'll also say that the whole "getting hit by a bus" thing is played out. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that Greg Kinnear is dead in this movie. What I will give away is that he dies after getting hit by a bus. (It happens in the first 5 minutes -- so I don't think I'm ruining anything.) Anyways, how many people have to get hit by a bus in the movies before it isn't funny anymore. Off the top of my head I can think of "Final Destination", "Meet Joe Black", "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Mean Girls". The worst part is that in "Ghost Town" I saw the gag coming a mile away. Sure, they try to distract you with smoke and mirrors, but in the end you know that bus is coming. Isn't there a more creative way of killing somebody in Hollywood?!

(One final point I'll make is in regards to a joke about Chinese people in the movie. I hate to be one of those people, but I was a little offended -- and I'm not even Chinese. People were laughing, and I guess that was the point, but if "Tropic Thunder" is going to get boycotted because of an imagined slight against "retards", this movie deserves to be boycotted by the Chinese. The jokes might have been funny -- but that doesn't make them appropriate.)

In the end, I walked out of this movie having seen lots of ghosts. Not only did I see the ghost of Greg Kinnear, I also saw the ghosts of all the movies that "Ghost Town" ripped off. And it was enough to scare me away from recommending this movie.

Keyword : Eli, Tea Leoni, Comedy, You, Ant, Ricky Gervais, Ate, Black, Doubt, Downfall, Ex, Ghost Town, Here, Holly, Hoot, I Do, Mirror, Mirrors, Move, Out, Oz, Red, Rick, RV, Saw, SIS, Stranger Than Fiction, The Ghost, Tropic Thunder, Up, Will, YES, Bi, Now, M., Aris, Cas

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