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Ghost Town

Ghost Town title card

Year - 2008
Studio - DreamWorks SKG, Paramount
Stars - Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni,
Director - David Koepp
Writing Credits - David Koepp, John Kamps
Music - Geoff Zanelli


Dr. Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) is a dentist in New York City with a decided lack of people skills. He is rude to his co-workers, patients and apartment neighbors. When he goes to a hospital for a colonoscopy, he insists on being given anesthesia. Leaving the hospital, he sees people who are surprised and amazed that he can see them, as they are ghosts, invisible to all other mortals. They follow him anxiously, every where he goes.

Bertram returns to the hospital to try and discover what might cause such hallucinations. After interrogating the lawsuit sensitive surgeon, he learns that he had died on the operating table for about 7 minutes before being revived.

One of the ghosts who is particularly interested in him is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) who had been hit by a bus several months before. He explains to Bertram that he, like the other ghosts, cannot "move on" because of unfinished business on earth. In his case, he must assure that his widow, Gwen ( Téa Leoni), to whom he was serially unfaithful, finds love. Although she is dating Richard (Billy Campbell), a handsome lawyer doing pro bono work in developing countries, Frank is convinced that he's the wrong man for Gwen. He takes Bertram to see Gwen who is lecturing on archeology at a college. Bertram is immediately attracted to the beautiful widow, and "volunteers" to break up her relationship with Richard by winning her heart himself.

Ghost Town poster

His initial attempts are less than successful because of his natural inclination to be insulting and superior. But he eventually gains her interest when he gives her important dental information about an Egyptian mummy she is studying. They begin spending time together as friends but, when he meets Richard he is convinced that their feelings for each other are genuine, and he reports to the ever-present Frank that Gwen and Richard are a good match. However, if so, Frank can't understand why he remains on earth. Meanwhile, the other ghosts continue to pester Bertram about assisting them with their needs so that they can move on to their eternity.

Bertram learns that Gwen has broken off her relationship with Richard and goes to see her. As he talks, she realizes that she knows details about her late husband that he should have no way of knowing. Bertram confesses the truth to her, that he is constantly being advised by Richard's ghost, an admission that causes her to think he is deranged.

He begins to realize that, if he is ever to have any love in his life, he must give it as well. He finally offers to help the other ghosts with their earthbound problems (e.g. explaining to a construction foreman that his actions did not cause the deaths of three workers, revealing the location of a missing letter a mother had written to her grieving daughter). However, when he goes to Gwen to try to win her love, he is struck by a bus. Richard gives him CPR as Gwen stands by helplessly. Frank sees the tears in Gwen's eyes and realizes that her love is, indeed, for Bertram. Bertram survives the accident and, when Gwen comes to visit him at his dental office, he is a changed man, liked and respected by those around him.

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Ghost Town is very similar in concept and tone to 1993's Heart and Souls.