Plot is the ‘Ghost’ of this movie

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By Bill Molina

(Paramount Pictures)

By Bill Molina

In “Ghost Town,” Ricky Gervais plays Bertram Pincus, a dentist who dies for seven minutes while undergoing surgery.

After being brought back to life, he discovers that he can see and communicate with ghosts, which makes him even more grumpy than he was before.

Think “As Good As It Gets” meets “Ghost Dad.”

Greg Kinnear plays a ghost who needs Gervais to break up the wedding of his widow, played by Tea Leoni, and a creepy love triangle ensues.

In the opening minutes of the film, Kinnear gets hit by a bus, in a gag that you could have seen coming before you decided to even go to the theater.

There is a sea of other ghosts in the film as well, but they are all two-dimensional.

For people who have moved on to the next stage of being, they simply aren’t very interesting.

Sadly, the same can be said about Tea Leoni’s performance; it wasn’t bad at all, but didn’t make the movie any more memorable.

A comedic performance put forth by Gervais gives this movie the legs it sorely needs to stand on, as the plot is contrived and fairly well-explored already by Hollywood.

Delivering his lines with such perfectly timed awkward sincerity like a fusion of John Cleese and Simon Pegg, Gervais shines as the movie’s lead.

Unfortunately, you can’t help but think of better and more complex characters for him to portray. Holding the movie firmly on his shoulders, his role isn’t without design flaws.

Far from being a people-person, the irritable nature of the character gets phased out whenever a romantic theme is suggested.

He is suddenly turned into this charming and witty guy who we can’t help but fall in like with, although there is no explanation as for why he doesn’t adopt this persona more often.

A very touching and well-shot ending sequence ensures that this film is enjoyable, yet still far from a great movie experience.

Since the movie is obviously a vehicle for Ricky Gervais to enter more American households, do yourself a favor if you haven’t already, and look into his other works, such as “Extras,” “The Office,” or any number of stand-up comedy specials and albums.

Tickets to the theaters costing what they do, you should wait around for this movie to hit DVD, unless you want to leave the cinema being able to see the ghosts of U.S. presidents who could have been better spent elsewhere.

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