In the comedy “Ghost Town,” Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) 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 (Greg Kinnear), who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni). That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle, with spirited results.
Ricky Gervais is delightfully cast as Dr. Bertram Pincus, an anti-social dentist who does everything he can to avoid any in-depth human interaction. Needless to say, Dr. Pincus is quite lonely and miserable after years of giving people the cold shoulder so as not to encourage conversation. When Dr. Pincus leaves the hospital after a minor surgery, he is pursued by all manner of persons whom he soon discovers are ghosts. One ghost in particular, Frank (played by Greg Kinnear), is especially dogged in pursuing Pincus, barely allowing him a moment’s rest until Pincus agrees to help break up the relationship between Frank’s widow and her new fiancé. Pincus finally agrees only to discover that he is falling in love with Frank’s widow himself.
I had never seen or heard of Ricky Gervais before seeing “Ghost Town”, but he is very funny and charming. In fact, all of the actors in this film do a great job of playing off each other and really milk the comedy for all it is worth. The characters grow and change as they examine the choices they have made in their relationships with others; in that sense, “Ghost Town” has more substance than many romantic comedies. Therefore it is most unfortunate that a few objectionable words prevent us from awarding “Ghost Town” the Dove Seal.