Like a comedic version of The Sixth Sense, the main character in Ghost Town can see dead people: in this case, he’s misanthropic dentist Bertram Pincus Ricky Gervais). After being technically dead for seven minutes during a medical procedure, Pincus discovers he’s being pursued by dozens of ghosts, all of whom want something from him. But the story isn’t as concerned with the afterlife as it is with how Bertram become a better person, as he gets to know a young widow (Tea Leoni) and the ghost of her cheating, but still loving, spouse (Greg Kinnear). While funny and touching at times, there’s still something a bit off: we don’t get much backstory on Pincus, so we don’t really know why he’s such a jerk, and the story sags a bit, falling back on physical gags and romantic comedy clichés. Gervais is also much more convincing as a curmudgeon than as the romantic lead the part later demands (he still sometimes seems to be playing David Brent). Kinnear and Leoni are effective, and there are some unexpectedly moving scenes near the end involving the other ghosts, but some more imaginative handling of the material would have turned this into a first-rate comedy instead of a mild, amusing one.
Opens September 19