Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2008. DreamWorks, Spyglass Entertainment, Pariah. Screenplay by David Koepp, John Kamps. Cinematography by Fred Murphy. Produced by Gavin Polone. Music by Geoff Zanelli. Production Design by Howard Cummings. Costume Design by Sarah Edwards. Film Editing by Sam Seig. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Insipid romantic comedy that is neither funny nor particularly romantic, starring Ricky Gervais as an antisocial dentist who dies for a few minutes during a routine colonoscopy. When he returns to life he finds himself possessing a very convenient talent: he can see and talk to dead people. Manhattan’s ghosts are all after him to help them take care of unfinished business, particularly a tuxedo-clad Greg Kinnear, who needs Gervais to help prevent his widow (Téa Leoni) from marrying to a man (Billy Campbell) he disapproves of. Gervais, however, wants nothing to do with any ghostly business, and resists helping out except for the fact that Leoni is so irresistibly charming. It would be pointless to criticize a romantic comedy for being predictable, so I’ll take it to task for everything else that’s wrong with it: there are very few attempts at humour and what there are fall flat, the story is uneven and has no idea whether it wants to be practical or fanciful, and Gervais is given nothing interesting to do. It draws quite slowly out to an inevitable climax without any sparks to be seen anywhere.