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Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy, who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen. That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle, with spirited results.
For more about Ghost Town and the Ghost Town Blu-ray release, see Ghost Town Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 29, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Téa Leoni, Greg Kinnear, Billy Campbell, Dana Ivey, Aasif Mandvi
Director: David Koepp
» See full cast & crew
Ghost Town Blu-ray Review
'Ghost Town' may be the best under-the-radar comedy of the year.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 29, 2008
So you're a funny dentist!
For a film billed as a Romantic Comedy, Ghost Town additionally offers both a serious side and a quick-witted funny bone, both of which oftentimes overshadow the more subtle romantic undercurrents the film offers. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that this isn't another carbon-copy genre film that panders to one particular audience with tried and true plot lines, stale characters, and predictable situations. While parts of Ghost Town are predictable enough, several moments will broadside audiences like a speeding city bus. The film's more dramatic, heartfelt, and sometimes tearjerking moments will have audiences at once laughing until it hurts and shedding a tear at the more poignant and serious moments that round the story into an honest and cohesive whole. As such, the film enjoys a broader appeal than does many of its contemporaries as it plays out with a sincerity and novelty of which few other films of this sort may boast.
Dr. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais, Night at the Museum) is a New York dentist with an attitude problem. He's anything but a people person, skipping out on the office party and slyly failing to hold open the elevator for people with bulky bundles. After what seems to have been a routine colonoscopy, Bertram begins seeing and communicating with dead people, and he's apparently the only one they can turn to for help in settling the important affairs they left undone in life. In particular, he meets Frank (Greg Kinnear, Invincible), an unfaithful husband who was recently killed in a freak traffic accident. He promises to get the other ghosts off of Bertram's back if the dentist can somehow manipulate his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni, Deep Impact) so she won't marry her new fiance, Richard (Billy Campbell, Gods and Generals). Bertram agrees, and through the experience he might discover that being a people person isn't so bad -- especially if he can fall in love with the right one.
Ghost Town surpasses most other Romantic Comedies in nearly every category. The laughs are funnier, the romance more believable, the drama and emotions more palpable and realistic, and the characters more endearing. The script is well-written and breezy, with Ricky Gervais adding an immense charm and charisma to the film. Although the basic plot isn't at all believable, the allure of the characters -- their plights, personalities, relationships, and the actors who portray them -- not to mention the quick-witted script, will erase any doubts as to the plausibility of the set-up. Where the film excels, even past the laughs, the burgeoning relationships, and the roller-coaster ride of emotions the characters experience over the course of the film, is in the sincere drama of the film's final minutes. A touching montage that completes one character's arc plays as both sweet and meaningful, not only because of the acts he performs but also because the excellent script and acting throughout have led audiences to deeply care for the character and the world in which he lives. Through it all, even to the final scene, the film maintains its wit and sense of humor, just one more quality that makes it so delightful.
Despite a laundry list of positives, it is undoubtedly the presence, charisma, and comedic genius of Ricky Gervais that pushes the film over the top and makes it the winner that it is. Gervais lends a deadpan sense of humor to the film that fits his character's personality like a glove. He manages to be an infinitely likable character despite his generally bad attitude, which makes his progression throughout the film far more rewarding than would otherwise be expected of a character with few-to-no likable traits. He plays the prefect Romantic Comedy leading man, in one film besting, if not surpassing, veterans of the genre like Hugh Grant. His supporting cast is also a cut above. Greg Kinnear plays a somewhat challenging role nicely, and the usually dull Téa Leoni delivers an above average performance.
Ghost Town Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ghost Town comes to Blu-ray courtesy of DreamWorks with a quality 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. The film features a fairly standard Romantic Comedy look, with a nice array of pleasing colors and minimal grain that play nicely with the film's fun tone. Still, the transfer features an impressive film-like look that makes for a very pleasing viewing experience. Whites are a bit bright, and the image as a whole appears slightly overblown and artificially bright through much of the film. Detail is solid across the board; the various cityscapes and park scenes reveal some close-to-lifelike textures and fine details that bring the image to life. Some backgrounds are soft, but foreground imagery is always sharp and clean with nice vibrancy. Black levels are fine, as are flesh tones. Ghost Town makes for a fine high definition viewing experience.
Ghost Town Blu-ray, Audio Quality
DreamWorks's Blu-ray presentation of Ghost Town features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that stays in-line with the standard Romantic Comedy offering. The soundtrack features a nice presence across the front with adequate support from the rear channels. The score in particular spreads out well and occasionally drifts into the back for further support and presence. Outdoor New York shots create a subtle, but not wholly immersive, environment. The track features a few good directional effects, but this is a mostly dialogue and front-heavy listen, and for all it is supposed to be, it's fine.
Ghost Town Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of Ghost Town features several supplemental materials. A commentary track with director David Koepp and actor Ricky Gervais is first. The track is as funny as the film itself, with the pair discussing commentary tracks in general, the rules of death, the joy of working on a relatively easy and small film, the various sets, the script, and all of the expected topics, but with Gervais's comedic touch in support. This track is definitely worth a listen. Making 'Ghost Town' (1080p, 22:40) is a fairly basic piece that recounts the plot of the film, examines the origins of the concept, and features the cast and crew discussing their experiences on the film, all intercut with numerous clips from the film. Ghostly Effects (1080p, 2:01) takes a brief look at the various stages of production for the film's effects shots. Finally, Some People Can Do It (1080p, 6:21) is a series of comical outtakes.
Ghost Town Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Ghost Town plays as a Romantic Comedy for all audiences. It obviously features and advertises the romance angle, but Gervais's presence and dry humor, in addition to a deeper-than-expected story, makes it well worth a watch for the guys, too. This is one of the best Romantic Comedies in years. Never is it trite, superficial, or dull. It plays quickly, remains focused, and features just the right mix of laughs, love, and heart to make it a memorable and worthwhile experience. DreamWorks's Blu-ray release of this gem is about as expected of a Romantic Comedy. The picture quality is well above par with bright colors and nice detail, while the audio is front-heavy but clear and accurate. The disc provides a few solid supplemental features to boot. Ghost Town comes easily recommended.
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Ghost Town Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Paramount Announces Ghost Town - November 20, 2008
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Tea Leoni film 'Ghost Town' to Blu-ray on December 28th, day-and-date with the DVD release. For this romantic comedy, video will be presented in 1080p accompanied ...
• Ghost Town and The Dutchess Coming Soon - November 18, 2008
In an early report to retailers, Paramount Home Entertainment has revealed that they will bring 'Ghost Town' and 'The Duchess' to Blu-ray on December 27th, day-and-date with the DVD release. For these two titles, video will be presented in 1080p accompanied by ...
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