Verdict: Ricky Gervais does a good job of livening up this generic romantic comedy
Rating: * * *
Ghost Town is Ricky Gervais' (The Office) first foray in American cinema as a leading man, and while he doesn't look like the typical Hollywood lead, his comedic style and timing gives Ghost Town a much needed edge.
It is written and directed by David Koepp, a highly regarded screenwriter (Mission Impossible, War of the Worlds and Superman - just to name a few) but a relatively new director.
He's made some great casting choices - Gervais, Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni all work well together - and written a script that is simple but contains a couple of good plot and character twists. Visually though, Koepp doesn't provide much flair, and is unable to make this film stand out from the average romantic comedy.
Gervais is Bertram Pincus, a dentist devoid of social skills, who dies for seven minutes while undergoing surgery. When he wakes up, he's rather annoyed to discover that he can see dead people. Worse still, they want something from him; to tidy up their unfinished business so they can rest in peace.
The most persistent of these ghosts is Frank Herlihy (Kinnear) who wants Pincus to stop his wife Gwen (Leoni) - who just happens to live in Pincus' New York building - from getting re-married. After plenty of pestering, Pincus agrees to help Herlihy out, but the task is harder than either of them imagined.
While Gervais' deadpan and understated humour might seem out of place in a romantic comedy, his fans can be reassured he delivers the style of comedy we expect from him. Not only that, he shows he can do more than make you constantly cringe by giving this real jerk of a character some heart and charm. Let's hope that disappointing box office results in the United States won't put Hollywood off Ricky Gervais, it would be good to see more of him.
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni
Director: David Koepp
Running Time: 102 mins
Rating: M (Offensive Language)
Screening: SkyCity, Lido, Hoyts and Berkeley Cinemas