Movie #20: Ghost Town

With a name like Ghost Town you probably wouldn’t expect the movie to be a romantic comedy. It doesn’t start out like one. Ricky Gervais stars as Dr. Pincus, a year-round grinch who avoids people as much as he can (which may be a challenge since he’s a dentist). After a near-death experience during surgery, this misanthrope finds himself able to see ghosts. Suddenly spirits from all over New York City eagerly seek him for help with their unfinished business. One ghost in particular, played by Greg Kinnear, wants Pincus to break up his widow (played by Tea Leoni) and her fiancé. So here’s where the romantic comedy part comes in: as he gets to know her, Pincus starts to fall for the wife. I’ve never been a big Ricky Gervais fan. His awkward stammering and self-embarrassing moping is not enjoyable to watch. As a bitter jerk, those qualities are unfortunately amplified. So when he starts to form a bond with Leoni’s character it just isn’t believable. All of a sudden, he’s Mr. Warm & Friendly? Mr. Loveable? Not likely. In the end, Pincus learns a lesson about being a good person by helping out the needy ghosts, but the movie would have been so much better if it had just been about him and the ghosts and not gone down the path of this romance. Between this movie and The Invention of Lying, Gervais may fancy himself the new rom-com guy, but he should just leave that kind of thing to Hugh Grant. (3 out of 5)

20 down, 30 to go!

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