Ghost Town
If this is the British version of the Verizon network … cancel my flight to London.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/19/2008
Director: David Koepp
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni, Aasif Mandvi, Kristen Wiig, Dana Ivey, Billy Campbell, Alan Ruck

Wondering what film to spend your hard earned cash on in this dumping ground of a month? Well, aside from the latest Coen Brothers’ flick, “Burn After Reading“, your best bet is “Ghost Town” … and I’d recommend it over the other because it’s much easier to become invested in the characters. While the overall film isn’t as technically sound, I found my enjoyment level to be higher and if any woman in the world was mentally deficient enough to take me up on the offer, this would be a pretty good date movie as well.

In “Ghost Town”, everyone’s favorite snarky Brit, Ricky Gervais (a true giant among the many pedestrian comedians these days) plays a dentist with a bit of a problem … he can see dead people. And no, it’s not like that little Osment kid in “The Sixth Sense” (is it just me, or does he have the smallest eyes of any adult in the Milky Way galaxy?).

Instead of being a thriller based around the ability to communicate with the afterlife, this one’s a romantic comedy … and if you are a fan of Gervais’ work, this is exactly what you need right now. His dry delivery style and acerbic wit will have you laughing in no time and he’s also so likable that feeling sorry for his predicament isn’t hard to accomplish either.

Now, perhaps my biggest problem with the film is that I’ve seemed to have developed an anti-Greg Kinnear sentiment. His slick, smarmy, wholesome but conniving acting style works in a lot of places but I’m getting tired of it and he seems to pop up out of nowhere these days … whether it’s in “Baby Mama“, “Feast of Love” or this. On the plus side, we do get to see him die – since he’s the main ghost in the film … so there is that going for me.

Counter-balancing Kinnear’s inclusion is a very nice performance by Téa Leoni. Often finding herself in some terrible productions, here she gets a chance to act alongside the brilliant Gervais and the two of them provide some nice chemistry and make the film feel quite natural … considering its premise.

There are a few subplots revolving around some other ghosts who would like Gervais to help them out and these help to keep the film from being too myopic – instead presenting a more universal message to go along with the love story. And most importantly, having other comedians like Kristen Wiig (who might annoy some but not me) and Aasif Mandvi (continuing to get supporting work outside of his gigs on the Daily Show) help to provide multiple comedic avenues – rather than simply relying on Gervais to do all of the heavy lifting.

Simply put, “Ghost Town” is a sweet, fun and funny film that should appeal to anyone who enjoys these heartwarming romantic comedies. Gervais’ performance is hilarious and this is easily one of my favorite comedies of the year, allowing me to give “Ghost Town” a 4 out of 5. As it’s quite easy to fall prey to some terrible films this time of year, I could understand some hesitance to brave the googleplex but this one’s worth the effort.