Starring: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, Directed & Written by David Koepp
** (out of ****)
Get ready for this novel idea: a dude (this time the socially awkward Ricky Gervais) dies for some odd mintues, wakes up, and finds that he has the ability to see the dead walking amongst the living! This individual begins to talk to the dead, slowly realizing that he is, in fact, having conversations with himself, and must thus weevil out his way out of sounding insane to everyday people. One of these dead have a "final wish" that must be fulfilled, and then they can get off this damn Earth and go get some peace and quiet in the afterlife. A truly stunning and original premise that doesn't get expounded or given a original landscape all that much. GHOST TOWN is nothing more than a alright time-passer when there’s no better comedies on, like PINEAPPLE EXPRESS or SUPERBAD. Although, I admit Gervais occasionally makes the ‘talk-himself-out-of-a-odd-convo’ moments fun to watch, but that’s few and far between. A small, nifty semi-twist is that Gervais’ character is a downright prick, giving less than a shit about anyone who is not him, and his ‘epiphany moment’ (oh, sorry, is that a spoiler?) was handled convincingly and actually got me to laugh, which this flick accomplished maybe three times total. Tea Leoni infuses her performance with more vigor than I anticipated; although she easily could have sleepwalked this part, she instead decides to – well - give a bit of a damn. If you’re bored and you saw everything at your local multiplex already, then I recommend GHOST TOWN because it works well as a nice diversion; there’s very little originality or substance to the flick, but the parts it does get right, they’re enjoyable.
Starring: Steve Coogan, Cahterine Kenear, David Arquette, Directed by Andrew Fleming, Written by Pam Brady & Andrew Fleming, 92 mins.
* (out of ****)
I have only been disappointed by a movie once this year, and that movie is HAMLET 2. The trailers made it look humorous, the poster sold me, and the concept was bloody brilliant; it could have been a fantastic comedy. Instead, HAMLET 2 was just pure, utter crap. I’ve only just encountered the ‘actor’ Steve Coogan with this summer’s TROPIC THUNDER and he was slightly humorous in that, but he’s given top billing here, and with the exception of one joke I laughed at, everything he did was flat and nearing on agitating. There are three bright spots to be found in the movie, though: Catherine Keener (40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN) plays Coogan’s frustrated wife, and David Arquette – barely having six inconsequential lines – who plays a drunken free-loader at their house. These two actors are the funniest thing about the entire movie. Finally, the musical number “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” is so brilliantly awful and funny, it would be the only reason I recommend this to anyone (which I’m not). Not even Amy Poehler's humorous cameo can save this flick. I’ve read plenty of 50/50 reviews, so HAMLET 2 is definitely a movie you’ll have to experience to get a opinion about it. As for me, I was as giddy to see this as I was THE DARK KNIGHT, and I ended up with a god-awful movie with very few bright spots. If possible, skip the first 80% of the movie and just watch the actually HAMLET 2 performance – that’s when it becomes bearable. However, the play is so completely frakked up, and makes no coherent sense whatsoever. But sod it, it was slightly enjoyable. But if you’re curious, give it a try, but otherwise, I implore you to save your bucks.