Ghost Town (2008)


RedBox, you’ve done it again.  You’ve given me the ability to see movies I didn’t trust enough to see earlier.  I’ve always found that I like Ricky Gervais, but I never trust his movies.  First I was surprised by The Invention of Lying to find that I liked it, then I was not as surprised to find I did not care for either Night at the Museum movies.  This movie is not those movies.  This movie is Ghost Town, starring of course Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, with a little bit from Aasif Mandvi and Kristen Wiig.

Ghost Town is the story of a douche nozzle named Bertram Pincus (Gervais), a dentist, who goes in to a doctor for surgery on his butt, administered by Kristen Wiig.  On his way home he starts seeing people that people can walk through.  People of questionable amounts of life.  People that are ghosts.  Zak Bagans runs in and shoves a digital recorder in their face, but Gervais can hear them sans digital recorders, and see them without the use of full-spectrum cameras.  Gervais is quick to return to Wiig to find that he died a little during his surgery, which has caused him to Haley Joel Osment it up.  The most pushy of the ghosts is recently deceased Greg Kinnear who needs Gervais to help his widow Tea Leoni break up with her boyfriend who only wants her for her money that Kinnear left her.  Gervais, being a more douchey version of myself (someone who does not like other people), develops a bit of a crush on Leoni and decides the best way to get her to dump her boyfriend is to become her boyfriend himself.  The rest of the movie is the quest to make this happen before Bruce Willis shows up.

I’m going to throw out all subtlety here: This movie is great.  It’s equal parts funny and touching, and also something I can find myself relating to because I feel that my loner ways will eventually progress to the levels of Gervais’ in this movie, and this will happen while I work to become a dentist.  I wouldn’t say that this movie is laugh out loud funny in the same vein as previously reviewed Hot Tub Time Machine as that’s not really Gervais’ style.  It’s subtle and witty humor, which I tend to value about as highly as the laugh out loud kind.  I may have mentioned it in another review (I’ve kind of lost track by now), but I one day intend to marry Kristen Wiig, or at least kidnap her and force her to entertain me.  Wiig tends to be the funniest part of any movie she’s in, and she keeps that up here.  The rest of the movie is pretty funny too.  It’s also nice to see Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi showing up in more movies, as I believe the only other one’s I’ve seen him in are Spiderman 3 and The Last Airbender, and I like him too much to think he deserves such a resume.

This movie is more than a simple comedy.  It has a dusting of Rom-Com to it as well.  But it’s also very touching, as aforementioned.  Obviously there’s going to be sadness when there are dead people around, but the big secret of the movie (Spoiler, I suppose) is that the ghosts are not, in fact, stuck around because THEY have unfinished business, but because the people they loved won’t let them go.  So it’s not until Leoni falls for Gervais (or the other way around, not to spoil that) that Kinnear can finally be let go.  And the last scene is just purdy.  Leoni comes to visit Gervais in his dentist office because she has something wrong with her tooth, and the movie ends with Leoni saying “It hurts when I smile” and Gervais saying “I can help you with that”.  That is just damn purdy writing.

This movie has the kind of message I like to see in a movie: That someone uglier and fatter than me with similar personality problems can get better and land them a Tea Leoni.  And as I’m skinnier, prettier, and less emotionally damaged than Gervais in this movie, I should be able to land a younger Tea Leoni, like Leoni from Bad Boys.  Mmmmmmm.  Sorry, I got distracted.  I give this movie “The feel good movie I REALLY needed to see today” out of 13.

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