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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Ghost Town

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Judy Thorburn

Ghost Town

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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


With its population over eight million, it would seem absurd to call New York City a ghost town. Yet, that is literally how it appears for Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) a London born New York dentist who finds himself suddenly being hounded by myriads of dead people in Manhattan who want him to be their intermediary for unfinished business when they realize he can see and communicate with them.

But, first let me backtrack. Pincus wasn’t born with that special gift. His ability to see ghosts came about as a result of a bad reaction to anesthesia during a routine colonoscopy procedure that left him dead for seven minutes. He’s revived, but upon leaving the hospital Pincus begins to encounter dead people who only he can see that are vying for his attention and desperate for his help. For the lonely, self absorbed man who doesn’t like people, he finds it an annoying burden. After all, this is an anti social guy who barely talks to the other dentist he shares an office with and shows no personal interest in his patients or anyone else for that matter. He’s happy keeping his patient’s mouths full of cotton so he never has to listen to them chat away.

Enter Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), a cheating, disloyal husband who lost his life in a freak accident when he stepped in front of a passing bus while trying to get out of the path of an air conditioner falling from a high apartment window. After watching Pincus being followed by other ghosts, Frank figures he can take charge of the situation by intercepting and making a deal with Pincus. He will get the dead people, including himself, to leave the dentist alone if he does one thing for him; break up the impending marriage of Frank’s widow Gwen (Tea Leoni) to human rights lawyer Richard (Billy Campbell) who, Frank thinks (for some unknown reason) is no good. The droll dentist agrees hoping to finally be rid of the bothersome souls. Funny thing is, Pincus must be allergic to the ghosts since every time he has an encounter with one of them he has a sneezing spell, although why, for sure, that happens is never explained.

Without any doubt Pincus finds himself falling in love with the smart, attractive Gwen, an anthropologist that happens to live in his building. It doesn’t matter that they start off on the wrong foot, as the rest of the movie explores their growing relationship while Frank begins to realize how much he hurt his wife by being such a philandering cad.

American audiences are familiar with British comic actor Ricky Gervais as the star of the original British version of The Office. He doesn’t have the romantic leading man looks, but there is something about the chubby actor that is very appealing and he pulls it off in his first starring role on the big screen. He and Leoni have a charming, quirky chemistry that almost makes you believe she might go for his droll character with a sarcastic sense of humor that he spices up with dental jokes. Kinnear looking dapper in a tux, plays up his devilish character with a bit of panache. As a matter of fact, all the ghosts are shown adorned in clothes they wore when they died, except for one dude who runs around naked. One can only guess what he was doing at the time of his death, and seeing him pop occasionally with objects strategically covering his private parts does garner some laughs.

Sure, Ghost Town is predictable and blends shades of Sixth Sense, Ghost, and Topper and other films that delve into the supernatural. But, that doesn’t detract from this sweet little fantasy story that has lots of heart and a strong cast that includes supporting performances by SNL cast member Kristin Wiig as Pincus’ surgeon, Dana Ivey as one of the anxious ghosts, and Aasif Mandvi, as the Indian dentist who shares the Manhattan office.

You just know there is a lesson to be learned about human relations and caring for others. It’s all about getting to that place and writer/director David Koep does an admirable job with Ghost Town by delivering an endearing comedy that lifts the spirit for both audiences and the troubled film characters.