Ghost Town (12a)By Kim Francis
October 30, 2008
It had to happen sooner or later.
America’s love affair with Whitley’s own funnyman Ricky Gervais has culminated in the romantic lead in a Hollywood comedy.
Having fallen head over heels for The Office and its main character David Brent, Hollywood courted Ricky Gervais with a series of cameos in films such as Night At The Museum, Stardust and For Your Consideration before finally wooing him into accepting a proposal to star in Ghost Town.
Gervais plays Bertram Pincus, a dour English dentist living and working in New York, who doesn’t like other people.
When he goes into hospital for a routine procedure and insists on a general anaesthetic, he dies for seven minutes on the operating table.
The incident leaves him able to see and communicate with dead people – much to his dismay.
So when he meets Greg Kinnear’s deceased philandering businessman Frank Herlihy, he strikes up a deal to help tear Frank’s wife Gwen (Tea Leoni) away from her unsuitable new partner (Bill Campbell).
In return, Frank will keep the other ghosts and their demands at bay.
But Bertram doesn’t bank on falling for Gwen and, as they grow closer, he begins to see the error of his ways.
You will no doubt ask yourself why Gervais chose this project above any other for his first starring role, when he has never made any secret of the fact he’s picky.
But just give it a chance and you’ll see.
Not only is Ghost Town funnier than you might expect, Ricky is allowed free rein to do what he does best – play the excruciating misfit.
But what is surprising is that Ricky also brings plenty of charm to the role and, by the end of the film, Bertram Pincus is an adorable everyman with whom we can all identify.
Much of Pincus’s dialogue reads like Gervais had an uncredited hand in the script and while its quality intermittently peaks and troughs, Ghost Town breaks free from any formula often enough to make for a mostly mildly amusing, occasionally very funny, sometimes slightly dull but otherwise relatively sweet movie.
Have you seen Ghost Town? Please let us know your thoughts...