Editors' pick

Ghost Town

Ghost Town movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
A man (Ricky Gervais) who sees ghosts agrees to a persistent spirit's (Greg Kinnear) request to sabotage his widow's (Tea Leoni) impending marriage.
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, Kristen Wiig, Alan Ruck, Brad Oscar
Director: David Koepp
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Editorial Review

"Ghost Town," a sweet and hilarious romantic comedy featuring a breakout performance by British comic genius Ricky Gervais, inspires viewers to pause, reflect and praise one of the most rare and wondrous occurrences in contemporary cinema: the Good Movie.

At a time when films seem to either aspire to heights of pretentious "epic" greatness or aim at the lowest common denominator, this genial, often eye-wateringly funny rom-com goes about its mission with heart and intelligence that too often are missing at the multiplex. Gervais plays Bertram Pincus, a misanthropic dentist who develops the ability to see dead people. One of the first ghosts he encounters is Frank (Greg Kinnear), who along with a squad of spirits needs Pincus to finish some of his earthly business. The deal: Frank will call off the rest of the otherworldly supplicants if Pincus successfully stops Frank's widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), from remarrying.

Often resembling a "Sixth Sense" with humor, "Ghost Town" sends Pincus on a journey of self-discovery, with Gervais channeling the same clueless self-absorption that made his BBC shows "The Office" and "Extras" such hits and at the same time imbuing the character with unexpected vulnerability and sweetness. Many of the most memorable laughs in "Ghost Town" derive from improvised humor, including a side-splitting scene with a doctor played by Kristen Wiig. But the best part of the movie is watching Gervais and Leoni delight in each other in scenes that burst with spontaneity and genuine warmth.

-- Ann Hornaday (Sept. 19, 2008)

Contains strong profanity, sexual humor and drug references.