In the U.K., Ricky Gervais is a big deal. In the U.S., while not many may know his name, almost everyone is familiar with his creation. Gervais is the 47-year-old co-creator/writer and star of the hit BBC shows The Office, which spawned an American imitation with Steve Carell playing his part, and Extras, which HBO distributed domestically. Now in theaters, Gervais stars in his leading performance in the brilliant comedy Ghost Town, and he does a damn fine job.
In Ghost Town, Gervais plays Dr. Pincus, a people-hating self-centered smug British dentist with a “Grinch heart.” After dying for seven minutes and being revived during minor surgery, Pincus is now cursed with seeing needy dead people who all want him to do favors for their living families.
The only thing Pincus hates more than people are dead people who won’t leave him alone. Frank, a persuasive ghost played by Greg Kinnear, is promising that if Pincus will help break up his ex-wife (Téa Leoni) and her current fiancée, then he’ll get all the other ghosts to leave him alone — an offer that Pincus can’t deny.
Ghost Town is a perfectly rich blend of Gervais’ uncomfortable British awkwardness, mainstream American humor and even a little romantic comedy. Although Ghost Town may have a semi-formulaic sounding plot, with an extremely high count of laughs, excessive amounts of charm and delightfully established characters, it is a movie worthy for almost every audience. The only thing stopping Ghost Town from being appropriate for all audiences is that it falls into the category of “PG-13 movie to get away with two F-words.”
If you are a fan of Gervais, delightful and charming comedies, dead people or non-stop laughter, then you must see Ghost Town as soon as possible. It truly is a movie well-worth seeing. Unfortunately, it has not been well advertised, but word of mouth should make this little movie go a long way.