The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Just Like Heaven

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Judy Thorburn

Just Like Heaven

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

"JUST LIKE HEAVEN” IS A CHARMING, SPIRITED, BOY MEETS GHOST LOVE STORY

I am pleased when I can walk out of a movie feeling entertained and satisfied in a spiritually, uplifting way.  That’s what I felt when leaving the theatre after “Just Like Heaven”, a feel good romantic comedy with a supernatural premise.  In addition, “Just Like Heaven” lends an imaginative twist to a familiar formula that makes it all the more appealing.

I don’t know what the result would have been if “Just Like Heaven” had two other leads. But, Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo are very talented, likeable stars who make the story so easy and enjoyable to watch. Together they make a wonderful on screen couple, a love match with great chemistry. She’s sweet and adorable, has a face that the camera loves with those great big blue expressive eyes, and he, a versatile actor, is good looking, but not gorgeous; perfect as the approachable kind of guy women would like to get closer to and men would care to befriend. They play two different people who have one big thing in common: the need to save each other and fulfill their life destines. He’s a lonely widower of two years, in a self-imposed slump, and well, find out for yourself why she’s a lost soul. In any case, as fate has it, a turn of events brings them together.

Without revealing any spoilers, here’s how the story enfolds.  Ruffalo is David Abbott, settling into a great, furnished San Francisco apartment that he has rented for an unlimited amount of time. Suddenly, a beautiful young woman named Elizabeth (Witherspoon) shows up insisting he leave because, she emphatically states, the apartment is hers. He doesn’t know how she got in, changes the locks, but finds her disappearing and appearing at will and able to walk through furniture and walls. He thinks he is hallucinating because he is the only one who can see her. But, soon he realizes she’s a ghost and must be dead, although Elizabeth is convinced she’s still alive. She refuses to leave, and as the two spend more time together they begin to fall in love.  Unable to remember anything about her life or who she is, it becomes a race against time, as Elizabeth needs David’s help in seeking answers and the truth to her condition before it is too late.

Besides the awesome duo, “Just Like Heaven”, which is based on the novel If Only It Were True by Marc Levy, benefits from a clever, well-written script, by veteran screenwriters Peter Tolan (Analyze This) and Leslie Dixon (Freaky Friday). Fitting smoothly into place, and never distracting from the focused leads, are a few good supporting characters including Dina Waters (who resembles a young Goldie Hawn from her “Laugh In” days) as Elizabeth’s caring sister, and Jon Heder (Napolean Dynamite) who adds some humor, giving David needed advice as the quirky metaphysical bookshop clerk who has the “gift” for sensing the presence of otherworldly spirits.

Director Mark Waters (Freaky Friday, Mean Girls) never veers into too silly territory, by keeping the slapstick comedy and heartfelt storyline well balanced.  A few scenes are rib tickling hysterical such as the sequence showing David’s attempt to rid the apartment of what he believes is an annoying ghost before learning more about her predicament.  The sequence involves an exorcist, then a group of Asian women, and finally a pair of phony ghost busters, hired one after another to do their thing, which obviously fails to work. And, Ruffalo proves what range and power he has an actor, adding physical comedy and great comic timing to his resume. The bar scene, in which Elizabeth takes control of his body is a gem.

Audiences who love fantasy movies like “Ghost” or “City of Angels” are going to find “Just Like Heaven”, less of a tearjerker, but just as touching and rewarding. The film is pure fantasy. Yet, it addresses some very real down to earth questions that surround life and death and the power of love.  If those issues may be too deep for some to want to ponder, it still works as a recommended chick flick, a great date movie and one heavenly “out of body” experience.