To like Ghost Town, you have to like Ricky Gervais. His misanthropic dentist springs from the same font that yielded David Brent and the guy from Extras. He doesn’t have a vast repertoire, but that’s okay by me. Ghost Town follows the story of the hapless dentist who has a NDE and finds himself able to see ghosts. They all want help, but he just wants to be left alone. Humor ensues.
A few additional thoughts:
- The film was written and directed by David Koepp, someone I’ve admired strongly since I watched the director’s commentary on Stir of Echoes, a film much underrated due to its synchronous release with The Sixth Sense. But Koepp does a nice job with the script and the helming here, giving time for Gervais to do his schtick without getting in the way.
- Greg Kinnear makes a good effort, but the movie doesn’t really give any space for a pal–there’s no one for the dentist to bounce ideas off of, though Asif Maandvi gets the closest as the co-practicing dentist.
- The ghosts are funny, with some recognizable character actors appearing (including Alan Ruck from Ferris Bueller). I like the conceit that ghosts make us sneeze when we pass through them. It’s also funny to see Gervais wrestling with trying to talk to the ghosts without looking stupid.
- I thought Tea Leoni did a solid job in the movie, with the sequence in her apartment being the standout moment. Much better than in Bad Boys, though to be fair, I disliked her character in BB. “You call this protective custody?!” Gawd.
- Minor spoiler: It makes me a little sad that the film isn’t more concrete about whether the dentist can see ghosts at the end of the story. I would have liked to see him continue his interactions with them.