Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Ghost Town


Review by Patrick Hodges

I just recently saw Ghost Town on DVD, and was actually quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I am not a particular fan of any of the three top-billed actors, nor am I unaware by how clichéd the plot seems.  But in spite of all that, I really liked it.

The films starts with Frank (Greg Kinnear) perishing in a tragic accident, but his spirit (or whatever you want to call it) remains as a ghost, unseen by anyone still living.  Just over a year later, a dentist named Bertram Pincus (played by British actor/comedian Ricky Gervais) temporarily “dies” during a routine colonoscopy, and is thenceforth endowed with the ability to not only see, but communicate with, any of the many hundreds of ghosts wandering the streets of New York, looking for closure before they can “move on.”

The thing is, Pincus is a wholly unlikable person.  He shuns contact with co-workers, neighbors, strangers, you name it.  And once word gets around that can “see” the dead, every specter in town is badgering him for help.  First and foremost is Frank, who wants Pincus to break up the engagement between his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), and a human-rights lawyer (Bill Campbell), whom he is convinced is a “bad guy” and only after her money, a break-up made more convenient by the fact that Gwen lives in Pincus’s apartment building.  At first, Pincus agrees, just to get Frank off of his back, but as he gets to know Gwen, he begins to realize that not only that he does he possess actual human feelings, but said feelings are developing for Gwen. 

Now this may sound like a sappy, hackneyed twist on the plot of Ghost, but I can assure you, it’s not.  Well, okay, there’s nothing particularly new or earth-shattering about the premise, but the way it plays out is really quite heartfelt and poignant.  And though Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais and Tea Leoni may not be on very many people’s lists for their favorite actor (especially Leoni, in my case), I was, as I said earlier, very surprised by how moving the story was.  I don’t want to give too much away about the ending, but I think you’ll like it.

This is not going to make my “Top 5 Movies of the Year” list.  But if there were such a thing as my “Top 5 Movies That I Enjoyed Far More Than I Expected To” list, Ghost Town would be right at the top of that list.

4 /5 stars

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