Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gervais made me want to live in his Ghost Town

Movie trailers for Ghost Town hype a funny, character-driven story starring Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear. Happily, there’s no disappointment in the film, as Ghost Town is not only very funny but quite likeable as well.

Gervais plays Bertram Pincus, a dentist who likes his career because he doesn’t have to listen to anyone talk. When he undergoes a routine colonoscopy and is given anesthesia, Bertram doesn’t wake up – for a while. And when he does, he thinks things are status quo. Bertram soon discovers that isn't true; in fact, he "sees dead people." But the situations are funny. Strange people bombard him with requests to do odd things. For example, one woman wants him to tell her daughter where she left a good-bye note. Bertram doesn’t understand what’s going on until Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) explains that he and the others are all ghosts who can’t pass on because they all have one last task to finish involving a loved one. Because Bertram can see and hear them while others cannot, it’s his help they need. Although Gervais is barley known to non-TV fans, his dry-humor is well recognized in his native England and as the Golden Globe-winning creator and star of the original The Office and HBO’s Extras. He’s a natural against the loveable and laughable Kinnear, whose character was run down by a bus during his prime. Living in a filet-mignon world and married to one wonderful woman, Frank had just purchased another place for his mistress. He feels guilty over the grief he’s caused his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), and wants Bertram to help him apologize and get rid of her new boyfriend Richard (Billy Campbell). One amusing scenario after another unfolds, all featuring Gervais, who can make an ordinary situation seem hilarious. Bertram’s gag reflex, triggered by a dog’s bad breath, is funny every time it happens. Kinnear makes easy work of this role, mimicking the goofy character he in played in the Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine. Tea Leoni presents a likeable character here, one far more interesting than her role in last year’s You Kill Me. It’s perfect casting that makes this thoroughly entertaining film work so well. A hefty 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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