Just Like Heaven
I would love to play doctor with you, Reese.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/16/2005
Director: Mark Waters
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo

My God, am I a sap! As one can tell from the trailers, “Just Like Heaven” is an amalgam of more romantic movies than I can count with all 21 digits (depending on what’s used in the process). Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo star as the love-lorn pair destined to end up together.

Wanna know the ending? I don’t have to bother do I? Good.

So, here’s the basics: Witherspoon plays an anal retentive doctor that dies but her spirit haunts Ruffalo, who has just moved into her now vacant apartment in San Francisco after a tragedy of his own. Explaining any more would be like telling you everything that happens, a la most trailers these days. So I’m gonna stop there.

The supporting cast is well done. Dina Spybey competently plays Witherspoon’s sister and Ivana Milicevic plays the sexy neighbor with the right mix of sultry and funny (she was equally as hilarious in “Love Actually”).

Donal Logue plays Ruffalo’s best friend and Jon ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Heder plays a stoner who can sense spirits. Logue is great in everything he does, and it’s a shame he isn’t in more of this film. Heder has said in interviews he didn’t want to get stuck doing Napoleon the rest of his career. He should have passed on this part. Luckily, he isn’t in it more than about 5 minutes between a few scenes and so he didn’t bother me too much. Sorry, I’m not on the Dynamite bandwagon that swept this country like SARS in an Eastern Herbal Remedy shop.

In any case, reviewing romantic comedies is like washing your hair. Just rinse and repeat. This movie is pretty formulaic, and some scenes are so saccharine filled I had to take a shot of insulin just to keep from foaming at the mouth. But the irresistible chemistry and appeal of Witherspoon and Ruffalo cannot be denied! No, it cannot!

And while he is getting dangerously close to over-exposure (if he isn’t there already), Ruffalo always manages to make me like him and I wish Witherspoon would have accepted my marriage proposal before Ryan Phillippe’s. Now there’s a happy ending I can get with.

So, let me reiterate before I reveal the not-so-surprising rating: I am a complete sap! I am a hopeless romantic at heart though I do my best to view the world through very thick coats of cynicism and negativity. That being said, I give “Just Like Heaven” a 3 out of 5. I used my six pack of Old Style after the film to drown my sorrows and divert my mind from thoughts best left buried. That the film opens and closes with songs by The Cure (albeit covered), doesn’t help matters.

If you love sappy, predictable, romantic comedies, go see this film. If you aren’t whipped, go check out something with explosions and guns. I’ll try to review something more like that soon, before the buzz from these beers wears off.