Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ghost Town - at last, a movie for grown ups!

. . . and not in the way you're probably thinking.

No sex, violence, or mutually-assured-destruction with thermonuclear "f-bombs." Ghost Town is an enchanting and well-made movie about a misanthropic dentist, Dr. Bertram Pincus-- played with superb understatement by the wonderful British actor Ricky Gervais-- who doesn't need or want people in his life. . . but gets them anyway. Dead people. With needs.

Needy dead people. The worst kind.

And nobody's needier than Greg Kinnear. . . a philandering wretch who is killed in a freak accident on the day his wife learns he has just bought a condo-love nest for his girlfriend.

It turns out, there are hordes of other people just as needy and desperate for somebody to see them and help them put their souls to rest. The sidewalks of New York are full of them.

Gervais's dentist is in this fix because he died for roughly seven minutes during what was supposed to be a routine colonoscopy. The scene pictured here-- with the doctor and the hospital lawyer-- has to be one of the driest, funniest on film. We SO enjoy watching the dentist get the kind of treatment he often dishes out to others. And the lawyer is priceless!

Now dead people just won't leave the poor dentist alone. And he isn't interested in helping anybody. . . until he sees Greg Kinnear's widow (Tea Leoni in an adorable role). . . who is just trying to get on with her life. Kinnear blackmails the dentist into helping him break up his widow's new engagement to a questionable-but-unquestionably-handsome guy.

You guessed it. Dr. Pincus (called Dr. PinkAss by Kinnear) falls for the widow. And in so doing reclaims his lost humanity.

Very nice cameos by a number of people we've seen but can't name. And some of the funniest "gag reflex" stuff you'll ever see on celuloid. Add a huge great dane getting his teeth brushed and the occasional "bystander getting hit by a bus" sight gag. . . and you have a thoroughly delightful ADULT movie. With a melting heart that makes us leave the theater with a smile that lingers.

What about you? Seen any movies lately that made you think: "I hope everyone sees it and it makes a hundred million"?


Michele Hauf said...

Oh, Betina, I'm so glad you posted about this movie! I wasn't sure about it, but it looked like fun. I'm headed to see it soon! But tomorrow is for IGOR. That one looks like fun, too.

M. said...

Glad you wrote about this since the trailer looks iffy, but I love Ricky Gervais! He was so fantastic in the original "The Office', the British version, that I never watched the American Steve Carrell version. He also had great little funny parts in 'Night at the Museum' and 'Stardust'. Love him.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I think this movie is an example of the wonderful range Hollywood is capable of. . . though I know it won't be just everyone's cup of tea.

m., I, too love Ricky Gervais. Have come to "The Office" late in the game, but have seen some of the British version on BBC America. He is so good in it-- very dry and full of unexpected takes and reactions. I love watching him! But again, he's very dry and sardonic and probably not to everybody's taste. If you get a chance to see it, I hope you enjoy it!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, I've been wanting to see this movie. I think it looks hilarious. And I'm delighted to hear you like it.

My weird suggestion? Lars and the Real Girl.

Really. Don't read the little plot snippets. Just see it. Then let me know what you think.