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Ghost Town [DVD] [2008]
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on 30 October 2011
The opening scene we see Frank (Greg Kinnear) walking along being questioned by his wife, Gwen, (played by Téa Leoni - the beautiful (ex)wife of David Duchovny) about an apartment - that he has actually started looking at for his mistress. Just as the smooth talker Frank reassures Gwen that it was for them, he meets an untimely end; staying in the outfit he died in.

Meanwhile, we meet Bertram Pincus (played by Ricky Gervais) who works as a dentist who is constantly tired of listening to people and is disinterested in his work colleagues - he even sneaks out of the office whilst Dr. Prashar and the other staff meet to celebrate the birth of his new baby.

So Bertram dislikes people and we even see him not hold the elevator for a lady who lives in his building when she is struggling with an enormous box. Up he goes to his bachelor pad to prepare for an operation.

It is during this operation that he dies - for 7 minutes - and this gives him the ability to hear the dead. Of course, all these ghosts are desperate to put things right with their loved ones and they all chase after him. This is Bertram's worst nightmare. One of the ghosts, Frank, makes him a deal - look after Gwen and save him from marrying her new partner (who Frank dislikes) and he will keep the other ghosts away.

So begins an odd courtship. It is hilarious - especially the part when he's in her apartment and meets her 'puppy' - a Great Dane - which was going to be put down until Gwen rescued him. And you, as the viewer, seem to fall in love with this odd dentist as well. So it comes as a shock when things don't go to plan and Bertram realises that the only way for him to get Gwen is to change: to help these ghosts with their problems. That way, they can 'find their way home.'

It's only when Bertram dies (again) himself, that Frank sees that Gwen has fallen for Bertram, that he is released. So everyone has been changed by the experience....

A sweet love story. I wanted to watch it over and over again. And each time I watch it, I realised how clever the narrative is. Bertram is often having a three way dialogue. Parts of the story, we see Ricky Gervais, and he is HILARIOUS.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 July 2009
Yet another film about ghosts, but I enjoyed this one more than most.

It was appropriately advertised with a reference to the line spoken in The Sixth Sense [DVD] [1999] by little Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Where Cole Sear said "I see dead people," this film has been advertised with a similar comment about the central character of this film, played by Ricky Gervais: "He sees dead people - and they annoy him."

Imagine "The sixth sense" remade as a comedy, with Haley Joel Osment's little boy replaced by a misanthropic dentist with the people skills of David Brent from "The Office" (Link:The Office - Complete Series One & Two and The Christmas Specials [2001] [DVD] ) and you have "Ghost Town." At times this is very funny, at times quite touching, and always entertaining.

Bertram Pincus (Gervais) is an English dentist working in New York. He likes his job because most of the people he meets cannot talk back to him when he's working on their teeth and because it's a job in which the fact that he is incredibly rude to everyone doesn't matter too much. The role is like a cross between the "boss from hell" characters Ricky Gervais plays as the museum director in "Night at the Museum" and David Brent in "the office."

In the first few minutes of the film most viewers will wonder whether Bertram Pincus is so rude because he hates people or because most of the people he meets are complete idiots. You rapidly realise that it's a bit of both, and the humour of the insults Pincus constantly throws at everyone around him fall into two categories. Many of his over-the-top insults are a response to ridiculous behaviour and work as humour because he is actually saying what most people would think but very few people would dare to say out loud.

In other instances the insults are uncalled for and the humour consists of Gervais and the scriptwriters seeing how outrageous he can be.

Dr Pincus goes into hospital for a routine operation, dies on the operating table and is quickly revived, but when he recovers he can see and hear all the many ghosts who are haunting New York.

As in many ghost-story films, the premise is that dead people who stay around on earth do so because they have unfinished business. As soon as they realise that Pincus can see and hear them, he is besieged by ghosts who want him to help them take care of these various issues.

A ghost called Frank (Greg Kinnear) had been an unscrupulous but persuasive rat who cheated on his archaologist wife Gwen (Tea Leoni). He convinces himself that the business he has to complete before he moves on is to stop his widow making another bad marriage. As the human rights lawyer who is now courting Gwen (Bill Campbell) appears from Frank's perspective too good to be true, Frank persuades Pincus to try to break up their romance.

In trying to do this, Bertram Pincus is forced for the first time in years to concern himself with how another human being thinks of him. This is the start of a process which continues as Bertram's long-dormant conscience begins to awaken. To get dead people out of his hair, Pincus has to abandon years of treating the living like dirt and try to act like a decent human being, with results which are as touching and surprising as they are comical.

A certain number of plot inconsistencies, but in general this is a good, professionally made film which was great fun to watch. A lot of the jokes are very funny, Gervais is, as usual, brilliant, and the supporting cast are also excellent. Strongly recommended.
2 people found this helpful
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on 19 June 2009
This is a film with more going against it than for it. As I watched it I was reminded of the fine As Good As It Gets [DVD] [1998] with the occasional paint splash of the equally fine "Ghost [DVD] [1990]". It gives both films and others, too, a nod but is far too knowing for its own good. First mistake.

True, it has all the acidity of Jack Nicholson's exploration of a sociopath in that fine outing but ultimately it lacks that film's fundamental sincerity. When Jack's character says "you make me want to be a better person" it's a wholly believable and touching moment. I'm afraid "Ghost Town" hasn't anything to match this and mostly this is down to its lead.

One thing I noticed in particular was that Mr Gervais seems to be looking forever over the shoulder of whoever he's talking to in much the same way that Tony Hancock did once he had discovered cue-cards in his later TV series. If you can be bothered, please just skip through the film again and I hope you'll see what I mean. He's forever looking off into the middle distance as he delivers his lines. It's quite distracting after a time and really rather annoying. If you add to the mix the Hollywood credo that tall, slim beautiful thirty-somethings always, just always, fall for slightly overweight middle-aged men (happens all the time, doesn't it?) the result is as realistic as it is funny.

Add further to the mix that the film is desperately short on laughs, plenty of savage remarks for sure, but simply not very funny and the whole lot makes for a pretty missable ninety odd minutes.

If you're determined to enjoy it, for one thing you'll have to accept Ricky Gervais as a romantic lead. No, I couldn't either. My best guess is that the small world of "The Office" and "Extras" on TV still, I think, suit him more than the wide-open spaces of feature films even the wannabe romantic, fluffy light-weight comedies such as this.
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on 23 September 2012
I loved Ghost Town. I love most of Ricky Gervais's work - including his standup stuff, which can be quite edgy and not exactly suited to family viewing. But you get to see a softer, cuddlier side to RG in his movies (at least the ones I've seen to date). I suppose Ghost Town would be classed as a Rom-Com, but don't let that put you off. I'm not a fan of the genre myself as a rule, but Gervais makes it more than agreeable. In fact with Ghost Town he's managed a very smart balancing act indeed (coulda worked "strike a happy medium" in there but I'm better than that) i.e. he's made a genuinely funny film that is also heart-warming enough for the US market, but not so much it'd make British audiences cringe.What a guy! I thoroughly recommend this movie.
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on 7 August 2017
Very good film - i enjoyed seeing Ricky not just be David Brent, showing there is more depth to his acting skills. This was a not half-bad film saved by him, making it actually rather good and watchable. I liked the story and good ending :)
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on 29 March 2018
I love Ricky Gervias, but this didn't do it for me. He's much, much better when collaborating with Stephen Merchant, rather than with Hollywood.
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on 27 November 2017
Lovely film, funny but meaningful with just enough sentiment and romance. Excellent idea and production. Highly recommended!
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on 4 July 2017
Would've been a mindless American Rom Com but Ricky Gervais -not being American- made it funnier and more watchable
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on 29 November 2017
Great movie for a couple to watch together. It was funny from the start and a heartfelt good funny with a deeper underlayer. Good movie about learning about oneself and the impact on others. One of the few movies with a well done ending, like a plane that properly lands on a runway versus one that feels like someone who just wakes up at the end.
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on 14 March 2017
Great DVDs fast delivery , but not the best quality others Iv ordered have all been spot on its just this one that was not 100%
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