He sees dead people, and they annoy him is the best description of this charming comedy with a supernatural twist. Starring popular standup comedian Ricky Gervais, Ghost Town is an excellent movie worth watching. And just to be perfectly clear, he’s working from a script here so do not expect his brand of comedy. It’s directed and written by David Koepp, the guy behind Death Becomes Her, so you already know what to expect. If you’ve seen that movie, that is. We will be following a grumpy British dentist who soon discovers he has a special power. And when I say grumpy, I mean British grumpy. Ricky Gervais grumpy.
This is also a movie featuring one hell of a concept stretched to its absolute limits. They took the body of a classic romantic comedy and strapped onto it this weird supernatural stuff, Ricky, and exploration of what it’s like to be dead. All of this actually opened up a lot of avenues to talk about our emotions. Our feelings of alienation in the modern world, fear of death, and many other interesting subjects. And while we’re at this subject, The Whole Nine Yards eight years earlier tried to do a similar thing with a dentist who finds himself in a lot of trouble.
Of course, the list of comedies about dentists would not be complete without Novocaine starring Steve Martin. I don’t like dentists. It’s not some irrational fear but something caused by childhood trauma. To this day I have not been able to see The Dentist from 1996 although it seems like a great movie. Moving on, despite all the death-related matters, Ghost Town is actually a fairly easygoing movie. The atmosphere is rather cheerful and the pacing is excellent.
Bertram Pincus (just remembered one of the X-Files episodes) is a grumpy dentist who does not like anyone, and he is trying to avoid any contact with humans. But that’s about to change when he starts seeing ghosts, and not just ordinary ghosts, he sees ghosts that are bothering him to talk to their live relatives. This all happened after his heart stopped ticking for seven minutes during a routine colonoscopy.
Apart from Ricky, we also have Greg Kinnear and Téa Leoni. However, without him, Ricky, this would be another forgettable comedy. If you don’t believe me, just imagine this movie with Sandler in a lead role. I think I proved my point right there. I’m happy he started acting for real finally, and if you want to see more of him, I recommend The Invention of Lying. What I loved most about Ghost Town is the lack of conventional rom-com melodrama. I really hate it when they have these yucky scenes with long goodbyes or forced sentiments.
Everything flows relatively naturally here, without much heavy-handed storytelling. And not everything is related to this main romance/ghost story. I just loved the giant dog here, does anyone know what breed is that?
Director: David Koepp
Writers: David KoeppJohn Kamps
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais, Aasif Mandvi, Raymond J. Lee, Dequina Moore,Jordan Carlos
Fun Facts: Dr. Bertram Pincus is named after the inventor of dental veneers, Dr. Charles Pincus.