Ricky Gervais as a romantic lead? Surely not? Ghost Town's plot revolves around the curmudgeonly character of Albert Pincus, a British dentist in New York who is so Scrooge-like that he sneaks out of the office to avoid joining in celebrations for the birth of a colleague's baby. When his colonoscopy procedure goes wrong, a near-death experience renders Pincus able to communicate with the city's ghosts. Cue his involvement in a supernatural love triangle as he falls for his female neighbour Gwen (Téa Leoni), recently widowed by her wealthy husband Frank, smoothly played by Greg Kinnear. Gervais has come under fire for selling out to Hollywood with this role, mostly from fans who feel that this kind of film undermines his comic reputation. The truth is, it doesn't. Yes it's a romcom, but Gervais's greatest gift is that he simply has to make a face or indeed don a dentist's overalls, and most of us laugh. Ghost Town is also charming, with plenty of gloriously deadpan lines. "What a terrible thing to say!" exclaims Pincus, after being told politely to come back soon by a nurse when leaving hospital. It's a novel role that Gervais should be proud to list on his CV.
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