I wanted to see this with my movie pass when it was in theaters but never made it. It's been sitting on my Netflix for ages and I kept moving other things in front of it. I love Ricky Gervais but the reviews were mixed. This week I felt like something lighter so I went for it.
Maybe my lowered expectations helped, but I liked this movie. If you're a fan of Ricky Gervais, you'll appreciate the scenes where he was obviously allowed to ad lib a bit. Especially funny is the scene where he goes to the hospital for a colonoscopy and the nurse is asking him all the usual questions, and he just can't see the point of most of them. Best use EVER of the phrase 'fait accompli'.
Gervais is not who'd you likely expect for a romantic lead, and when it got to the time in the movie when he was supposed to start courting Tea Leoni, I thought this might be where the movie failed. But it didn't. Maybe because I'm a HUGE proponent of 'Marry the Funny One' (see my earlier post re: Antonio Banderas vs. Simon Pegg), I totally believed that a beautiful woman engaged to Mr. Handsome-Save-the-World-Guy would become attracted to a somewhat homely but hysterical dentist.
I think that the filmmakers thought that Gervais might not be the likeliest romantic hero, thus we never see anything physical at all between these two - not even one kiss! The only way we're even allowed to understand the attraction is through their chemistry and reactions to each other - and I thought that they both did a great job portraying their emotions without actually touching each other. Sounds strange but I think it worked. Think old movie Cary Grant style- a lot of times all they ever got was a 'passionate hug' as the movie faded out.
I can't imagine what someone who wasn't familar with Gervais would think of this movie - maybe that's why it didn't do well at the box office. Also going on during the film is the storyline of Gervais seeing dead people who hound him to do favors from the other side. I especially liked the subtle way the movie suggested that every time we sneeze, it's because we just walked through a spirit bound here on earth. Something to ponder the next time you sneeze. Maybe it was Grandpa? Neat!
The film also led Papa Cash and I to have a short but serious discussion whether or not souls bound to earth might be here because of 'unfinished business'. (The movie suggests this). A romantic comedy about ghosts may not lead you to pondering just why or why not a soul might feel like it had to stick around - but hey, we're weird, and we like pulling movies apart to see how they tick.
So if you like ghosts, Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear (hey-almost forgot him!), or are in favor of adopting the slogan "Marry the Funny One", you might want to check this one out.