11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Berry pleasantly surprised,
This review is from: Ghost Town [DVD] (DVD)
After watching How To Lose Friends And Alienate People (Simon Pegg's latest foray) I wasn't overly enthused about this one. Hollywood went through a long love affair with Australians, and now it's moved on to British comedians. To its benefit. And to the detriment of the newly homogenised British comedians.
Unlike the sickly sweetness of How to Lose Friends, there are still some gloriously politically incorrect moments (such as Pincus - Gervais - asking his Indian Hindu business partner how to extract information from a hostile, to which the partner responds: "I suppose I'd ask politely...") and Gervais is absolutely the master of observational physical comedy. Make a mental note to rewind and rewatch his reaction when saying he won't be asking for morphine. It is perhaps the best little bit of acting I've ever had the pleasure of watching.
Ghost Town also stars Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni as a dead dude and his ex-wife respectively, and despite their both being seasoned actors, Gervais steals the show in every possible way. However he and Leoni have no chemistry whatsoever. None. And therein lies the problem: while it's excellent that a chubby, older misanthrope is the star of a romantic comedy, it really feels like they've shoe-horned Gervais in. Or perhaps they tacked Leoni on at the end. Either way, they have as much chemistry as two like-poles of a magnet.
So I was very much left with the impression that anyone could have played his part. Not the little asides and facial expressions and none of that vintage Gervaisiness, but the role in and of itself is a rather dull one. Truth is, Gervais is better than the script, and any actor off the street could have played it - albeit not nearly as well.
But the chemistry issue doesn't ruin it, because the romance isn't what carries the film. You see, both Leoni and Kinnear are instantly forgettable; Kristen Wiig as a vapid, self-involved surgeon deserves a nod, but Gervais and Aasif Mandviwala (Mr Aziz, the pizza guy, in Spiderman 2) give stand-out performances that will have you glued to the screen. They carry the film, and their excellence mitigates the lacklustre love story and, ultimately, renders it obsolete.
So while those 2 get 5 stars each, the rest of the film gets considerably lower, and it evens out to a hugely watchable and enjoyable 4.