Films & Schedules

  • Ghost Town

  • David Koepp

103 minutes

Production Company:
DreamWorks Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment
Executive Producer:
Ezra Swerdlow, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum
Gavin Polone
John Kamps, David Koepp
Production Designer:
Howard Cummings
Fred Murphy
Sam Seig
Robert Hein, Michael Barry, James J. Sabat, David Wahnon
Geoff Zanelli
Principal Cast: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni, Billy Campbell

Canadian Distributor:
Paramount Pictures Entertainment Canada
US Distributor:
Paramount Pictures

TIFF Tags: Comedy 

Friday September 0509:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0712:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

An unconventional New York love triangle unites the comedic talents of Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni and the inimitable Ricky Gervais in Ghost Town. Bertram Pincus (Gervais) is a jerk. A cranky British expat whose narrow life plays out between the confines of his ascetic Manhattan apartment and his nearby dentistry clinic, he labours daily to block out his patients' insipid, rambling verbiage. Bertram has mastered the art of brushing people off, shutting himself inside a tiny, airless world of isolation. But after he is temporarily declared dead during a minor medical procedure, the appalled Bertram discovers that he can see and hear ghosts. It is not fear that horrifies him, however, but annoyance. Bertram hates being bothered, and the spirits will not leave him alone.

This sparkling comedy from director David Koepp takes a hilarious approach to more trenchant themes of grief, loss and love. Each of the dozens of spectres pestering Bertram wants him to relay a final message to someone they left behind. The ghost most desperate to bend Bertram's ear is Frank Herlihy (Kinnear), who hopes he can use a living intermediary to break up his widow Gwen (Leoni) and her new partner (played with a mix of smarm and boyish self-aggrandizement by Billy Campbell). It helps that Gwen lives in Bertram's apartment building; in fact, the dismal dentist has been rude to her for ages.

Gervais is simply hilarious here, especially when his wretched misanthropic character is forced to turn on the charm. Desperate to get his spooky stalkers – particularly the mad-dog persistent Frank – out of his mortal life, Bertram will have to lure the erudite, sunshiny Gwen out of another, better man's arms. In the process, Frank will also have to face his own failings. The transformations that ensue for both men make Ghost Town both a delight to watch and a touching reminder not to wait for life to give us second chances.

Michèle Maheux

David Koepp was born in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles. He wrote and co-wrote numerous features, including Jur-assic Park (93), Panic Room (02), Spider-Man (02) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (08). He has directed the features Suspicious (94), The Trigger Effect (96), Stir of Echoes (99), Secret Window (04) and Ghost Town (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award