Ghost Town–Movie Review

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3 Stars
Ghost Town is an American comedy with an unusual British feel to it. Much of this comes from Ricky Gervais, a British comedian who plays the main character, a curmudgeonly dentist named Bertram Pincus. (The script provides a typically unconvincing explanation of why a British dentist is living and working in New York City.)

Pincus has little use for people. The thing he enjoys most about his job is that it lets him stuff cotton into people’s mouths so that he doesn’t have to listen to them. His life is turned upside down when a botched medical procedure leaves him temporarily “dead”, after which he is able to see dead people in the manner of The Sixth Sense.

This is a real pain because all of the ghosts want his help in resolving something that they left undone. The pushiest of the ghosts is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) who wants to keep his widow Gwen oni (Téa Leoni) from remarrying. But Pincus start to fall for Gwen himself, which puts him in the middle of a love triangle (or maybe quadrangle.)

There are a couple of good reasons to see this movie. One is that Téa Leoni is adorable. The other is that it is really pretty funny, mostly due to the fact that Pincus is a very witty put-down artist, in the best traditions of sardonic British humor. (I almost wrote “humour” but I thought better of it.)

The downside, as with most comedies centered on an obnoxious, nasty and funny character, is that the rules require that in the end he must be reformed, redeemed and rewarded. Afterwards he won’t be funny of course, so the redemption is accomplished in a hasty and unconvincing sequence near the end of the story.

Of course that’s hard to avoid, but I’m starting to think that I’d like to see a comedy like this one that forgoes the heartwarming ending and leaves the jerk triumphantly unreformed at the end.