Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ghost Town (2008)

One part Extras. One part Ghost. Four parts Heart and Souls.

Angry at the World Dentist gets his butt operated on.
Angry at the World Dentist temporarily dies.
Now Angry at the World Dentist can see ghosts.
The ghosts want Angry at the World Dentist's help.
He's angry at the ghosts for this.
One ghost is persuasive.
Angry at the World Dentist falls for Ghost's Widow.
Angry at the World Dentist becomes less angry.
Ghost's widow gets angry at Not So Angry at the World Dentist.
Now So Angry at the World Dentist helps ghosts after all.
Now that he's helped them, they can go to heaven.
Not So Angry at the World Dentist and Ghost's Widow make up.

WARNING: Fans of Robert Downey Jr., Elizabeth Shue, Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore, and David "The Man" Paymer might experience deja vu while watching Ghost Town.

All of that aside, the film's worth watching. It might rip off one of my favorite childhood movies from famed director Ron Underwood, best known for his blockbuster megahits Tremors, City Slickers, Mighty Joe Young, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash, but the film still comes off as an endearing romcom that deals with the idea of ghosts much more effectively than some other I'm in Love with a Ghost movies. *cough*JustLikeHeaven*cough*

First, there are no scenes of Ricky Gervais talking to the invisible ghosts with people looking at him strange. Every scene where he's talking to a ghost, we can see the ghost. You have no idea how great that is until you watch the film and realize that the filmmakers refused to go for the easy joke. After realizing that, your respect for the film quadruples. That means times four!

Second, there are some really talented comedians on the cast. Ricky Gervais, you know, the guy who made The Office, gets a lot of scenes to just be funny. Then he get paired with one of my favorite funny ladies and SNL mainstay, Kristen Wiig. Between her spray tan and her constant mumbling, Wiig cracked up the audience even with her limited screentime. After seeing Daily Show regular Aasif Mandvi show up as a fellow dentite, it was a little disappointing to watch him play the straight man to Gervais' comedy. Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, and the rest of the actors in non-comedic roles perform solidly with what they're given.

The entire film sets itself up for a corny third act. All the signs are there and they're all point the film in the wrong direction. The manipulative strings begins to play and the sappiness is poured on pretty generously. This might be enough for some people to dismiss the movie which would be a shame because there are a lot of truely funny scenes and enough touching scenes to keep the movie afloat.


Anonymous said...

Scott, I love this review, especially the poem that precedes it. What form is it?

whitney said...

This makes me want to see it more than when you were just telling me about it...maybe...