the fresh films reviews

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Ghost Town (2008)

David Koepp
Ghost Town
102 minutes
Gavin Polone
David Koepp
John Kamps

Cast includes:

Frank Herlihy Greg Kinnear
Bertram Pincus D.D.S. Ricky Gervais
Gwen Téa Leoni ½
Dr. Prashar Aasif Mandvi ½
Richard Billy Campbell ½
Ghost Dad Alan Ruck ½
Surgeon Kristen Wiig
Marjorie Pickthall Dana Ivey



Comedies are often hit or miss, and this dichotomy is probably not reduced by casting Ricky Gervais – the creator and star of the worldwide smash hit "The Office", which first aired on BBC in 2001. Gervais has grown a little older and a little more likeable as he has moved from television onto the big screen, but he's still a highly characteristic figure who can hardly be dubbed a diverse performer. Either you like him or you don't. Or rather: either you dislike him with a grin or you dislike him altogether.

In Ghost Town, Gervais plays a misanthropic and negative dentist who finds himself in limbo after unapt hospital personnel mixes up his anaesthesia during a routine operation. Suddenly he can see and hear ghosts of dead people who roam the streets restlessly. When they realize he can sense them, they start asking him for favours.

Much of the premise in this film is more than a little familiar, but some parts of it are not and some parts are given a refreshened treatment. Those who have seen a lightweight Reese Witherspoon rom-com called Just Like Heaven probably won't be too impressed with Ghost Town at first glance, but there is more to this film than initially meets the eye. Not only are we given a fresh explanation as to the purpose of ghosts, but there is also a genuine goodness in David Koepp's direction which functions brilliantly in contrast with Gervais cold and life-weary character.

Quite a bit of Gervais' comedy is closely related to his David Brent character, and it takes him a little while to establish Bertram Pincus, but once he does, he creates a sincere and complex figure who most people can find recognition in. And the film's entanglements and romantic developments are both funny and sincere, if ultimately somewhat improbable.


Copyright © 13.4.2009 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang