Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Ghost Town


The reason for ghosts, it is said, is that the spirit of the dead has unfinished business to attend to and thus is unable to move on to whatever comes next. This was explored in the rather sappy but fun Ghost (which was saved from ordinariness by Whoopi Goldberg). Bertram Pincus, DDS (the brilliant Brit, Ricky Gervais), an irritating misanthrope, dies for seven minutes while getting a colonoscopy, and as a result can see ghosts. Lots of ghosts, Manhattan is crawling with them, and they are amazed that he can see them. These aren’t spooks in sheets, or rotting corpses. They look just as they did when alive … and they’re a worse pain in the butt than a colonoscopy. Each of them has an agenda, something they want Bert to do for them, unfinished business concerning their friends and families. He’s completely uninterested in helping out. But one is persistent (Greg Kinnear, who just gets better and better). He wants Bert to stop his wife from marrying someone he calls a sleazebag lawyer. She is an Egyptologist played by Téa Leoni, who is one of the most underrated actresses working today. These three deft performers keep everything working nicely. It’s a slight little romantic comedy with a rather unlikely hero, and it’s a lot of fun. There are two delightful supporting players, too. These are the doctor who does the operation, and the hospital administrator. The scene where they reluctantly admit that Bert died, and their tap dance demonstrating how they weren’t responsible and how he couldn’t sue them is hilarious.