I love comedies, but I don't always laugh out loud even though I enjoy them. Every once in a while, a comedy will touch my funny bone in that special way that elicits full "laugh out loud" fun. This movie not only touched me once, twice, but three times a lady. And I loved it.
If this sounds somewhat similar to "Ghost" - then you are kind of in the right ballpark. I am the first to admit the whole "ghost genre" is so terribly played out. However, where "Ghost" goes terribly sentimental and somewhat sappy, this movie takes a definite turn into a deep comedic realm with a touch of humanistic moral and is all the better for it.
Ricky Gervais is someone I personally find hilarious. I love the dry, British humor. There are scenes with him in this movie that almost had me in absolute tears. Here is an example:
When he checks into the hospital he has a discussion with a nurse about if his bowels have evacuated. After trying to dodge the question, him and the nurse have the following exchange:
Pincus: "I shat. Ok? Good. Again, and again. It was like a terrorist attack down there in the darkness and the chaos, and the running and the screaming, okay?"
Nurse: "Fine with me."
Pincus: "Good. Gross invasion of my privacy, this."
Nurse: "Wait until they get you in the back."
Another example of brilliant Gervais-ness. They give him a relaxant before the procedure and he has said some not nice things as they wheel him into the room.
Doctor: "Not a real people person are you, Dr. Pincus?"
Pincus: "Not really. Given a choice between a few people and loads of people, I choose my cat. She hunts dwarfs. She takes them up the tree. They're still alive. You can see their little legs going. Sounds like Norah Jones when she plays the piano."
He can almost do no wrong in my eyes.
I also want to touch on Kinnear's performance as I have thought for a long time that Greg Kinnear is a terribly underrated actor. He is kinda like an older Jason Bateman if you think about it. He has become known as a great straight man that can toss out some deadpan lines too and get a great laugh. Time and time again I have seen him in romantic comedy roles that he hits out of the park, but I don't think he gets much respect for it. In this movie - he plays a bit of an amoral lout. He cheated on his wife and is unapologetic for it through most of the film. He is charming and we easily forgive him because he is who he is. One of my favorite exchanges between him and Gervais come in a scene which shows how unapologetic Kinnear's character is:
Frank: "You are a sad little man."
Pincus: "And you're a lying, bigamist corpse."
Frank: "No, no, I'm not a bigamist. I'm an adulterer. It's a whole different thing."
Pincus: "Sorry, my mistake. You were a real catch."
If you haven't guessed, I highly recommend this one for a day when you could use a good laugh. It isn't all about laughs in this one though, as it is well grounded with the theme of examining your own life. Pincus is a jerk and he too, is unapologetic about not caring about anyone but himself and is quiet existence. But even he has to decide if that is all he wants out of life - a detached quiet. So not only do you have a great comedy, but it has a nice little message that they don't try to beat the audience about the head with. Check this one out when you have time, it is hilarious. There, I did the whole review and not once did I use the phrase "He sees dead people". Oh, wait, uhmm ... oops.