Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 39
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?: Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gercais, left) discovers, to his dismay, that he can now see ghosts after he was revived from the accident during his colonoscopy which left him dead on the operating table for seven minutes. When the ghosts discovered that he could see them, they besieged him with requests to help them communicate with people in the living world so that they could resolve the issues that were preventing them from resting in peace.

Ghost Town: Comedy Stars Ricky Gervais, Who Sees Dead People

Kam Williams

What happens when you die? Perhaps you remain on Earth, a tortured soul unable to rest in peace until you resolve all of your unfinished business. This is the limbo Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) has been stuck in for over a year following his untimely death in Manhattan.

He and many other disembodied spirits, who are invisible to humans but not to each other, roam around the city frustrated by their inability to communicate with the living. A way to connect the two worlds appears when something goes horribly wrong during Bertram Pincus’s (Ricky Gervais) routine colonoscopy. After an accident with the anesthesia, the dentist appears to be dead on the operating table for about seven minutes.

On the advice of the hospital’s attorney (Michael-Leon Wooley), the surgeon (Kristen Wiig) decides to hide the truth about what happened to Bertram. However, once he is resuscitated, it doesn’t take him long to realize that something has changed, because he can suddenly see ghosts. Once the spirits realize that he is still alive and yet can see them, they implore him to intervene with long-lost loved ones on their behalf.

However, Bertram is a self-absorbed misanthrope who is not inclined to go out of his way for anybody. For instance, when a neighbor, burdened with packages, asks him to hold the elevator he deliberately pushes the “CLOSE” button instead of waiting for her to reach the door.

That woman, Gwen (Téa Leoni), happens to be the above mentioned Frank’s widow. She is engaged to marry an attorney named Richard (Billy Campbell). Frank, who has been lurking around the apartment building hoping to sabotage their plans, befriends Bertram, and the two soon cut a deal.

Bertram promises to try to prevent Gwen from marrying Richard, who, it turns out, is a con artist who is only interested in her money. In return, Frank agrees to keep all the other ghosts annoying Bertram at bay. However, Bertram develops feelings for Gwen, too, and the novel love quadrangle which ensues is the hub around which Ghost Town revolves.

Directed by David Koepp, this offbeat comedy is a cross between Ghost (1990) and The Sixth Sense (1999), because it combines some of the former’s romantic elements with the latter’s “I see dead people” theme. In addition, Ghost Town adds a few surprising wrinkles of its own.

You will enjoy this movie if you enjoy laughing at the insufferably stuffy British character that Ricky Gervais has perfected in his television roles. He is a coldhearted cad who experiences an 11th-hour epiphany so that the movie can deliver a universal message about what really matters in life.

Very Good (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, and drug references. Running time: 102 minutes. Studio: Dreamworks Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

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