Movie Review: Ghost Town (2009)

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear

Directed by: David Koepp

Dr Bertram Pincus is a dentist whose people skills are severely lacking as he lives in his own world and just wants his peace and quiet. During a routine colonoscopy he ends up dying before being brought back to life. After the event he begins to see ghosts who need his help moving on to the afterlife.

Earlier this year I watched and reviewed another Ricky Gervais movie; Special Correspondents which I thought was fantastically funny and a thoroughly enjoyable watch and then I watched Gervais’s stand up comedy show Humanity on Netflix last month, which again I really enjoyed so I thought it was about time I watched Ghost Town. Throughout his career I’ve enjoyed most of his work that I’ve seen, especially his stand up comedy so was excited to see what he could do in Ghost Town as he stars alongside academy award nominee Greg Kinnear.

First and foremost Ricky Gervais was superb as lead character Bertram Pincus, a dentist who despises people and just wants quiet. He was fantastically funny as he shares great chemistry with both Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. After having a a routine colonoscopy, Dr. Pincus dies on the operating table for a few minutes before being brought back to life. After this happens he begins to see people, ghosts, who begin following him around as they have unfinished business on earth that they need Bertram’s help with before moving on to the afterlife. One of those ghosts is Greg Kinnear who plays Frank, a man who died leaving his wife alone despite cheating on her before his death. He disapproves of her new fiancé and asks Bertram to intervene and break them up which puts the dentist out of his comfort zone and he soon becomes besotted by Franks widow Gwen (Tea Leoni). In a story of emotional ups and downs for Dr. Pincus he sets on a journey of discovery as he reinvents his character and shows people that he does have a human side after all.

In addition to Ricky Gervais’s great comedic performance, Greg Kinnear also provided many laughs which is a credit to his acting ability as he can play such a wide variety of roles and he really is a joy to watch in the majority of movies that I’ve seen him feature in. The chemistry between the two stars was terrific and enabled the story and character development to flow at a natural and comfortable pace. Kristen Wiig also featured in this movie as the surgeon who performed the colonoscopy on Dr. Bertram Pincus and for the small role she played she was great. The scene which features Wiig, Gervais and hospital lawyer Michael-Leon Wooley was the best scene of the movie and I think I could watch it time and time again and still find it funny.

The story that was being told was quite a predictable one and fairly obvious what was going to happen but it was still a pleasant ending to a good solid comedy movie. I did find that the comedy outbalanced the drama quite significantly which isn’t a completely bad thing but when the story tried to focus a little more on the drama side of things it did feel a little forced and awkward as there was too much of a focus on broad comedy throughout.

Overall, Ghost Town was a pleasant comedy which although had a predictable story it was still pleasing nevertheless. Three solid performances from the three lead actors as well as a great cameo role from Kristen Wiig provided many laughs. Not as good as Special Correspondents but very enjoyable.


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