Archive for Ricky Gervais

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1938, in Egypt a team of archaeologists is searching for a tomb and its treasure. A young boy falls into it, calling to his father and the team; they discover a significant artifact, the tablet of Ahkmenrah. The locals tell them that if they remove the tablet, “the end will come”.

In present-day New York City, five years after the events of the last film, night guard Larry Daley is overseeing an evening event at the American Museum of Natural History. Larry has gathered his favorite exhibits, which come to life every night, to help with the entertainment; they include Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, Sacagawea, Dexter the Monkey, diorama miniature cowboy Jed and miniature Roman centurion Octavius, and Pharaoh Ahkmenrah. Larry meets a new wax figure Neanderthal who calls himself Laaa. Ahkmenrah warns of the tablet corroding, which had been causing the exhibits to act oddly. At the event, the exhibits go berserk and the attendees flee. When Larry gets home, he finds his son Nicky throwing a party. Nicky explains he doesn’t intend to apply to college, wanting to take a year off to figure out what he wants to do with his life.

Larry researches the tablet and learns that Cecil Fredericks, the former security guard who tried to steal the tablet (in the first film in the trilogy), was the boy from 1938 who helped discover it. Larry goes to Cecil’s retirement home and explains what is happening at the museum. Cecil recalls the locals’ warning that “the end will come”, realizing it was not an “end of the world” prophecy but a warning that the tablet’s magic would end. He suggests that Larry consult Ahkmenrah’s parents, who are in the British Museum. Larry persuades Dr. McPhee to let him take Ahkmenrah and his tablet to London, even though Dr. McPhee is no longer the museum director. He eventually yields to Larry’s request, and pretends that he is still director.

Larry and Nicky travel to the museum, meeting the security guard, Tilly, who lets them in. When Larry enters, he sees his exhibits friends stowed away. The tablet brings the British exhibits to life and the gang encounters a Triceratops skeleton, which chases them. A wax figure replica of Sir Lancelot, who thinks he is the real Lancelot, saves them, but Jed and Octavius fall into a ventilation shaft. Larry sends Dexter to find Jed and Octavius, who have landed in a Pompeii exhibit just before the model of the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupts. The others fight off a nine-headed Xiangliu statue and Dexter stops the volcano’s flow to save Jed and Octavius.

The gang finds Ahkmenrah’s parents, and his father, Merenkahre, reveals the purpose and power of the tablet: it was made to keep his family together forever. The tablet is endowed with the power of Khonsu, god of the moon, and needs frequent exposure to moonlight to retain its magic. Lancelot steals the tablet, mistaking it for the Holy Grail, then leaves to find his Lady Guinevere. The tablet continues to corrode, which damages the New York exhibits and threatens their “lives”. The gang splits up to find Lancelot, but Tilly apprehends Larry and locks him and Laaa in the employee break room. Larry reflects upon his relationship with Nicky and then Laaa breaks them out. The gang leaves the museum to continue the search, while Laaa stays behind to keep Tilly detained, during which, they become attracted to each other, but the Trafalgar Square lion statues corner them. Larry distracts the statues with his flashlight and the search continues.

Lancelot has arrived at a local theater showing a production of Camelot, starring Hugh Jackman as King Arthur and Alice Eve as Guinevere. He runs onstage, trying to convince “Guinevere” to join him. The gang arrives soon after and convinces Lancelot he’s mistaken, chasing him to the roof. Larry persuades Lancelot to give him back the tablet to save the other now lifeless exhibits. Larry adjusts the tablet and the moonlight restores it, reanimating the exhibits. Larry returns the tablet to Merenkahre after the New York exhibits decide that the tablet and the pharaohs should stay together. As everyone parts ways, Larry tells Tilly that tomorrow night she will have the greatest job in the world. After returning to New York, the exhibits accept that they will permanently return to their inanimate state and they say goodbye to Larry.

Three years later, Larry has given up his job as a night watchman to become a teacher, and a traveling British Museum exhibition comes to the museum. Tilly gives the tablet to McPhee, whose job Larry had saved by taking the blame for the chaos at the evening event at the beginning of the film. She shows him that all the exhibits have come to life because of the tablet’s power and are partying in the museum. Larry, who is walking by, pauses on the sidewalk to see the flashing lights of the party inside the museum, and smiles.

REVIEW:

Sometimes a franchise comes along and fills audiences with wonder and delight in every installment. Other times, they start off with such promise, only to crash and burn. With Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, this franchise seems to be coming to an end. Will it go out with a bang and be remembered or simply slink off unnoticed?

What is this about?

Security guard Larry Daley plunges into an adventure that transports him to a London museum, where he’s surrounded by a new set of artifacts — including the remains of an Egyptian pharaoh who’s resurrected by a magic tablet.

What did I like?

Origin. We’ve had this magic tablet at the center of things for two films now, but no one has really gone into the history about it. That is where it comes from, how it got its powers, etc. We finally get some answers with this film, as we learn it is powered by moonlight and was given said magical powers through some ancient Egyptian ritual. I am so glad that they gave us the origin, rather than just assume we don’t want to know or come to our own conclusions. Something like this deserves, née, needs an origin story.

Power of 3. As this is the third film in the franchise, it seems only fitting to bring back the three guards from the first film. Before you get excited, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Dick van Dyke (who can still dance as well as he did in his heyday, btw) serve as nothing more than a cameo, or fan service. Their appearance wasn’t necessarily needed, but it was nice to see them. Having said that, van Dyke’s character is tied in to the film’s opening, so his part was a bit necessary.

Last one. At the time of this release, both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams had left us. I won’t say these are the best roles for them to leave on, especially as both of these men have very impressive resumes spanning decades and genres. However, it is nice to know that, being one of their final on-screen roles, they won’t tarnish their legacies a la Raul Julia in Street Fighter. R.I.P. Robin and Mickey.

What didn’t I like?

Parenting 101. In Night at the Museum, Nicky was a little kid devoted to his father. Now he’s a teenager. Need I say more? Surprisingly, they didn’t make him totally disrespectful, overemotional, or any other traits that teenagers today exhibit. They only real change to his character is that he’s older (and played by a different actor). Here is my issue, though. We, the audience, are already having to chew and swallow this convoluted plot with the tablet, introduced to a possibly villainous Lancelot, and now we have to suffer through more drama between Nicky and his dad? They could left that out and focused more on the running joke of Laa and how he looked so much like Larry (even if I thought he looked more like Tom Cruise). Perhaps the fool that Lancelot spoke of could have made an appearance, as well.

Sir Ben. I spoke earlier on how Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney did not have their best performances in this film. Well, that was nothing compared to Sir Ben Kingsley’s role. First off, this isn’t bad casting, in theory, but I feel they could find someone who is actually descended from that region. The queen and Ahkmenrah are obviously of Middle Eastern origin, so why is the pharaoh British and white? That’s a minor point, though. Kingsley is a more than proven actor. Sure, he doesn’t mind lowering himself for a role, as we saw in Iron Man 3, but he was at least given material to work with. In this film, he just stands there, utters a few royal edicts, looks pharaoh-ish, and that’s it? Can we say waste of talent?

Dark. I know many out there are all about the dark stuff these days. Here’s the thing, though…this is, in essence, a children/family film. Why isn’t it the fun romp that the first two were? Are we trying the Harry Potter route and grow with the audience, because if we are then we need to know that the audience is still there, and I just don’t think they are. I don’t have a problem with the story, I just feel that some of the darker themes could have been replaced with more comedic moments. This is a comedy after all.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb may be the last entry into this flailing franchise. I think that is perhaps for the best with the loss Robin Williams and no one really clamoring for these films. Not to mention the tremendous drop off in terms of quality coming into this film and no one really giving off the vibe that they want to be there. I feel that this could have been a much better movie had there just been that extra bit of excitement in the cast, but they didn’t sell it, thus the film just meanders along. I will say Rebel Wilson did add a bit of spice to the proceedings. If they were to reboot this, like they do everything else, I suggest her in the lead. So, do I recommend this? No, unless you’re a completionist and want to finish the franchise. Otherwise, it is best to just leave this one alone.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

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Escape from Planet Earth

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film starts out with Scorch Supernova on a mission to rescue captured babies from a rival species. Scorch then returns back to Planet Baab where he is known as a famous hero, while at BASA his brother, Gary and Gary’s son Kip are. Soon, Gary and Scorch receive a message from Lena the head of BASA, that Scorch will be sent to the “Dark Planet” (Earth) due to an SOS call. Scorch decides to go on the mission to the Dark planet, but Gary strongly discourages him from going. After further arguing finally Gary says that he won’t be helping Scorch and quits BASA before Scorch can fire him. Gary then goes home to his wife Kira and Kip only to find out that Scorch has already gone on the mission to the Dark planet, while Kip is watching it on live TV in excitement.

Scorch arrives on Earth and lands in the desert and finds a 7-Eleven convenience store but mistakes an inflatable figure for a dying being. Scorch is then tranquilized and captured by Shanker Saunderson, the malevolent general of the US Army, and is taken to “Area 51” where aliens from other planets are held. After finding that this has happened, Kip wants to go rescue Scorch but Gary discourages him and he himself doesn’t want to go. Kip is furious and goes to his room. Gary goes to Kip’s room to apologize and admit he is sorry that Scorch has been captured. When Gary flips Kip’s blanket open, instead of seeing Kip, he sees his dog and sees that Kip’s window is open. Knowing that Kip is going to try and save Scorch, he rushes to BASA with Kira wearing his rocket boots. They arrive to find that Kip is about to take off in a ship.

Gary manages to cancel the launch sequence, but he re-activates the sequence so Gary himself can rescue Scorch. He soon arrives on the Dark Planet. As soon as he arrives his ship immediately activates a self-destruct sequence, but Gary manages to get out. He then arrives at the same store that Scorch arrived at earlier. Gary goes inside the store, but is spotted by two men inside named Hawk and Hammer. Both Gary and the two men get freaked out by each other and try to hide from each other. After the two men realize that Gary is not a hostile alien, they offer him a slushie. Gary takes the slushie but drinks it too fast and gets brain freeze. Afterwards, Shanker’s men break into the store and capture Gary.

Gary is then taken to Shanker’s office where he is quickly removed after Shanker receives an incoming call. It is then revealed that Lena is an ally of Shanker’s as she has sent him a powerful source known as blutonium and is in love with him as he puts on an Elvis Presley-like wig when contacting her. Gary is placed in a cell hall with other alien geniuses named Doc, Io, and Thurman, who tell Gary that various human technology has been invented by them for Shanker to rip off and sell to the world so he will release them. Gary reunites with his brother, but is again annoyed by his conceited behavior. After a food fight in the cafeteria, the aliens make their way to ‘the peace shield’. Lena, meanwhile, has captured Kira, who stayed at BASA to try to contact Gary in concern for his safety. Lena then reveals her plan to give a lifetime supply of blutonium to Shanker.

After Shanker reveals the blutonium, Gary unintentionally provokes Scorch into stealing it after stating it’s dangerous power and when being chased, Scorch destroys the blutonium, causing Shanker to freeze him. He orders Gary to fix the blutonium and reveals that he’s going to destroy all of the alien planets with a laser ray the captured aliens have built due to 3 imprisoned aliens accidentally killing his dad when he was 6. Gary fixes it with help from his new friends, but Shanker goes back on his promise to release him and instead freezes him like his brother. The other aliens discover Shanker’s true intentions when he tries to destroy Baab with the laser ray, it is revealed that Gary rigged the blutonium to malfunction and destroy the laser ray, thereby releasing the captured aliens. With Gary and Scorch released from their icy prisons, the brothers, Doc, Thurman, and Io escape Area 51 and eventually find Scorch’s ship in a trailer park.

Meanwhile, back on Baab, Kip frees his mother, who stops and subdues Lena after the latter took off with the blutonium shipment (and in the midst of the battle, learns Shanker was using her). Kip guides his father to safety via mission control, but Shanker (wearing Scorch’s robotic suit that he wears on his adventures) uses a tractor beam to stop the ship, but Gary and Scorch jump on him and manage to get the suit off the villain, causing the latter and the brothers to plummet to their dooms. After reconciling, the aliens that killed Shanker’s dad rescue them and take Shanker away. After returning to Baab, Scorch marries a reporter named Gabby Babblebrook

REVIEW:

For some reason, there is an obsession with making alien themed children’s films, of questionable quality. The latest entry into this category is Escape from Planet Earth. Is this more of the same stuff we’ve seen over and over again, or something new?

What is this about?

This all-ages animated comedy follows the adventures of astronaut Scorch Supernova, a hero of the blue aliens who has a vast appetite for adventure. Ignoring his brother’s warning, Scorch sets off on a deep-space rescue that proves to be a trap.

What did I like?

Fraser. I’ve always thought Brenadan Fraser had the perfect voice for over-the-top animated characters. Finally, someone listened and cast him as one, Scorch Supernova, the cocky astronaut hero of planet Baub. Even though this character has some character deficiencies, Fraser makes him such a lovable guy that you can’t help but like him.

Color. Blue is my favorite color, and there is plenty of it to be seen here, mostly because the people of planet Baub are blue. If you’re looking for lots of color, then this is something sure to strike your fancy, because there are lots and lots of color to be seen, even in the darker scenes. It can be a little much, but I liked it, so get over yourself.

That’s how that happened. When we meet the other aliens in Area 51, it is revealed that the captured aliens are responsible for much of the technological advancement such as social networking, iPhones, etc. This may be a bit of a conspiracy theory, but it made for some funny moments, especially when you take a few minutes and think about it (and the real-life secrecy of Area 51).

What didn’t I like?

Voice casting. I mentioned earlier how Brendan Fraser was perfectly cast as Scorch Supernova. On the flip side of the coin, I have to wonder about the rest of this cast. For instance, Rob Corddry was the nerdy brother. If you know anything about Corddy, this doesn’t make much sense. Surely there had to have been someone else that would have been a better fit. Also, Jessica Alba as the villainous co-conspirator didn’t work. For me, I don’t see her as a bad guy. Now Sarah Jessica Parker, she would’ve been better suited. Perhaps they should have switched roles.

Latino. I don’t want to come off sounding like some sort of racist, but how in the bloody blue hell are there so many Hispanics in outer space?!? I’m talking about, in particular, Sofia Vergara as a reporter and George Lopez as an alien scientist in Area 51. It just seems as if the filmmakers went out of their way to find them for the specific reason of bringing in the Hispanic crowd, rather than enhancing the story.

Dead horse. There is a running joke, especially early on where the henchmen in Area 51 call each other by names that together form director names, such as James, Cameron, etc. The first time they did it was funny, but it got old quick. On top of that, this is a kids movie. Are they really going to know who James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese (called ‘Marty’) are? I think not!

When all the dust clears, Escape from Planet Earth isn’t the worst animated film that you’ll see, but it isn’t the best, either. There isn’t anything here that will make you not want to watch it, but there’s nothing that you’ll be glad you watched it, either. I wish they would have done something more imaginative with this, but other than the brain freeze thing and the wacky, waving flailing, inflatable tube man, there isn’t much imagination to be seen here. With that said, I don’t really recommend this but, at the same time, tread lightly.

3 out of 5 stars

The Invention of Lying

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film features a high concept narrative set in an alternate reality in which there is no such thing as lying and everything said is the absolute truth. In this world people make blunt, often cruel statements, including those that people would normally keep to themselves. There is a lack of religious belief, and the absence of fiction results in a movie industry limited to lecture-style historical readings, and advertisements as bluntly truthful as the people are.

Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is an unsuccessful lecture-film writer who is assigned to write about the 1300s, a “very boring” era. One night he goes out on a date with the beautiful, charming and wealthy Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner). She tells Mark she is not attracted to him, due to his looks and unsuccessful financial situation, but is going out with him to satisfy her extremely prejudicial mother and as a favour to Mark’s friend Greg Kleinschmidt (Louis C.K.).

The next day Mark is fired from his job due to lack of interest in his films, and his landlord evicts him for not paying his rent. Depressed, he goes to the bank to close his account. The teller informs him that the computers are down, and asks him how much money he has in his account. Mark has an epiphany and tells the world’s first lie, that he has $800 in his account. The computer comes back online and shows his balance is $300 but the teller gives him the full $800 anyway, assuming that the computer made a mistake.

Mark then lies in a variety of other circumstances, including telling an attractive woman that the world will end unless they have sex, preventing a police officer (Edward Norton in a cameo) from arresting his friend Greg for DUI, getting money from a casino, and stopping his neighbour Frank Fawcett (Jonah Hill) from committing suicide. He then writes a screenplay about the world being invaded by aliens in the 14th century and that the memories of all humans were erased. He becomes wealthy from the success of the film which he named “The Black Plague.”

Mark convinces Anna to go out with him again hoping she will see past his looks and weight now that he is financially secure. On their date Anna congratulates Mark for his success and admits that he would be a good husband and father. She is still not attracted to him because if they ever have children Mark would contribute half of the heredity to their children, making them “fat kids with snub noses” and Anna does not want that. Mark then gets a call that his mother had a heart attack and rushes to the hospital. There, the doctor (Jason Bateman) tells him that his mother is going to die. She is terrified of death, believing that death will bring an eternity of nothingness. Mark, through tears, tells her that death instead brings a joyful afterlife, introducing the concept of a Heaven to her, and she dies happy while the doctors and nurses appear awed by what he says.

Mark soon receives worldwide attention for his supposed new information about death. Under pressure from Anna, he tells them, through “ten rules”, he talks to a “Man In The Sky” who controls everything and promises great rewards in the good place after you die so long as you do no more than three “bad things.” Some time later Anna and Mark are hanging out together in a park and Anna asks him if they marry would being rich and famous make their children not fat with snub noses. Mark wants to lie but doesn’t because of his feelings for Anna.

Meanwhile Mark’s rival Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe) pursues Anna romantically, motivated because of Mark’s success. However Brad’s blunt, rude manner makes Anna uncomfortable though she continues dating him; they become engaged. Anna invites Mark to the wedding. Mark tries to convince her to not marry Brad but fails. Anna goes to the park she first went to with Mark and sees a slightly overweight child with an ice cream when some thinner boys come and mush his ice cream into his shirt. She yells at them and then they run away. She runs up to the boy and wipes away his tears while asking his name. He replies ‘Short Fat Brian’ to which she tells him: ‘you are so much more than just that.’

Before the wedding Mark’s friend Greg shows up and tells him that he didn’t lose her yet and Mark reluctantly attends Anna and Brad’s wedding. There, he objects to the marriage, but the officiant informs him that only the Man in the Sky can stop the wedding. Brad and Anna both ask Mark to ask the Man in the Sky what Anna should do but Mark refuses to say anything and leaves, wanting Anna to choose for herself. Anna walks out and Mark confesses his ability to lie and that the Man In The Sky he told everyone about was made up. Anna struggles to comprehend the concept and asks why he didn’t lie to convince her to marry him; Mark states that it “wouldn’t count.” Anna confesses that she loves him.

Some time later, the now-pregnant Anna and Mark are shown married with a son, who has learned his father’s ability to lie

REVIEW:

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone told nothing but the truth? Well, that is the world that The Invention of Lying is set in.

I’ve been postponing this film every week since it was released on DVD, thinking it might be nothing more than another one of those dramedy flicks that seem to be becoming more and more prevalent. I won’t say this isn’t one of those, but it does start off hilarious, especially when you think about the fact that these people can do nothing bt tell the truth.

The bluntness of these people is hilarious to us, but to them it is just everyday conversations. For instance, Jennifer Garner flat-out tells Ricky Gervais that she’s not attracted to him and he’s fat and has a snub nose. Granted, these kind of things happen today in our society, but for some reason, the way she said it was funny.

The plot of this film is something that we don’t see very often…an original story! Kudos to Ricky Gervais for coming up with this. I actually thought this may have been a book, Twilight Zone episode, or short story, but apparently not.

The acting here is a little dry for my taste. That is not to say that it is bad, it just is that humor that Gervais brought to audiences with the original The Office and tends to do in everything he does. For me, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here, it works initially, then fades away and becomes more of a nuisance than anything.

I mention how the film starts out hilarious than tapers off. I’m not sure if that is because the joke gets old, or if it does indeed turn more towards the drama angle, but whatever the reason, it deeply affects the film, which is truly a shame, because if they wold have kept up the pace and tone of the first part of the film, this could have been great.

Instead, in typical Gervais fashion, they have to go and smack society in the face with our shortcomings and such and his character is the one that is the one to start it all. Don;t even get me started on that whole Jesus beard he had going near the end.

I must mention that Rob Lowe does play a pretty good douchebag slimeball villain. Of course, this character is actually not much different that the one he played in Wayne’s World, so it should come as no surprise. The guy does bring something different to the table when he’s on screen, though.

Would I recommend The Invention of Lying? Yes, but I wouldn’t go rush out to find it. Nothing about this film is memorable. Hell, I just finished watching it and already I’ve forgotten about a good chunk of it! Still, I did enjoy and think this is worth a viewing or two.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Valiant

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war. At camp, they meet two wisecracking burly pigeon twins, Toughwood and Tailfeather, and a regal red pigeon named Lofty. They go under serious training by Sergeant Montegue, who gives them a good workout and giving them the name squad F. While there, Valiant falls in love with a nursing dove named Victoria, who seems to have feelings for him as well. Suddenly, the founder of the RHPS, Gutsy, informs Montegue that his troops, Squad F, have to leave for France immediately to get a message even though their training isn’t finished. Their plane is shot down in France, and Gutsy presumed dead. Valiant and company enlist the help of two French mice, Charles de Girl and Rollo, to get them into German territory and help them defeat the evil pigeon-hunting Nazi falcon general Von Talon. When the pigeons split up trying to deliver the message, Bugsy is captured by the falcons. The team reunites, along with Gutsy, who barely made it out of the plane. Valiant rescues Bugsy and Mercury from Von Talon’s bunker, and in the process, gets the message back. Valiant defeats Von Talon with the help of his family and friends and delivers the message. We learn that the message was telling allied commanders to perform the D-Day operation at Normandy. He is awarded a Dickin medal and reunites with Victoria.

REVIEW:

Normally, I love films set in the 40s. They tend to have a feel to them that really appeals to me. On top of that, this is Disney, so it can’t be that bad, right? Well, if you notice, there’s no Pixar attached to the name. That alone should have set me off that this was not going to be that great a picture.

Don’t get me wrong, the film has its bright spots. For instance, they use an entirely British cast to portray these characters, when we all know they could have just as easily gave these parts to Americans. I actually love the story. I believe it would have worked as a traditional animated picture, maybe even throw a couple of songs in there, for good measure. It doesn’t go off into that serious realm and keeps things light.

The biggest fault with this film is that it doesn’t know who it wants the audience to be. At certain points, it goes for the kids, and others it goes for adults. Neither seems to be who the film is geared toward. Personally, I think this fits more in the kids’ category, rather than the adults.

Character development is an issue. Outside of Valiant, we don’t really get to know any of the characters in depth enough to feel for them. This really shows when Bugsy leaves. For me, I was like whatever. and I’m sure the rest of the audience would feel the same way. The same was true when Commander Gutsy appeared to be blown up and came back. Not sure if that was because, you kind of knew it was coming or what the deal was, but there was just no depth to these characters.

The villain, General Von Talon, played by Tim Curry, was quite eccentric in his own right, but for some reason, I felt he was too much on the comic side, and not enough villain. nothing wrong with having a comic relief type villain, but there needs to be some sort of evil overlord to balance things out. Von Talon has a boss that he alludes to. It would have been nice to see him, but instead we have to deal with the General and his two minion (who may be his sons).

What did I think of this film after all is said and done? Well, it has its ups and downs, pros and cons, positives and negatives. I can see why this wasn’t well-received by critics and audiences. It just doesn’t have the Disney magic (as almost all of these non-Pixar CGI films, excluding Meet the Robinsons, seem to have in common). As I said before, this probably would be an awesome 2D hand drawn animated picture, but since they didn’t go that direction, it resulted in a flop. I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone. If you must see it, wait for it to show up on Disney Channel or Cartoon Network, rather than wasting a rental slot on it.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Ghost Town

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A misanthropic dentist, Bertram Pincus, (Ricky Gervais) gains the ability to communicate with ghosts after a near death experience in which he dies for approximately seven minutes during a colonoscopy and is then miraculously revived. Ghosts begin to pester him, particularly Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) who wants him to break up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni). This proves rather hard, as Bertram has snubbed Gwen on many an occasion, including when he closes the elevator on her and gets her in trouble with the super. However, since he displays his dental expertise to her one day in the elevator, she recruits him to look at a mummy’s teeth, and Pincus redeems himself in Gwen’s eyes when he identifies the cause of the Pharaoh’s death. She invites him to dinner along with her fiancée Richard (Billy Campbell), whom Frank says is after her money but seems to Pincus like a nice man, as he is a human rights lawyer. Pincus gets to know Gwen more and finds himself falling in love with her. He mystifies her when, out for drinks one day, he knows information about Frank, and Gwen reveals to them both that she had found out Frank had been cheating on her. Pincus ends up inadvertently breaking off her engagement to Richard, information he got out of Richard by drugging him with laughing gas. After that, Pincus vows never to interfere in her life again.

Frank doesn’t understand why he is still on earth if he was supposed to break up Richard and Gwen. Gwen, not being engaged to Richard any longer, says yes to a proposal that would send her to the Valley of Kings for six months. As a going away present, Pincus gets her a new key chain, which she had before mentioned she desperately needed. But when he mistakenly reveals more information about Frank only Gwen knows, she demands the truth, and Pincus tells her the whole story with ghosts. Gwen doesn’t believe him and demands to know what Frank’s worst nightmare was. Frank tells Pincus a fake nightmare, and Gwen, thinking Pincus is toying with her, walks away. Frank tells Pincus he doesn’t want Gwen to be with another selfish person.

Back at the office, Pincus asks a fellow dentist (Aasif Mandvi) for medication that will help him forget Gwen. Pincus decides that he will help the ghosts. He helps almost all of them, and finds out that one of the ghosts is an especially annoying patient’s deceased husband.

While helping these ghosts, Pincus discovers that the reason why Frank can’t leave is that Gwen hasn’t let go of him. He rushes to the exhibition at the Met, only for Gwen to blow him off. She asks him to ask Frank why she wasn’t enough for him, and Frank says he’s sorry, which Pincus tells Gwen. Gwen is incredulous that after his infidelity, all Frank would have to say was ‘sorry’ and thinks that Pincus is making it all up. He rushes after her and while trying to persuade her to believe him, gets hit by a bus. Pincus, now a ghost, watches with Frank. Gwen is crying over Pincus, then Richard comes and tries to revive him. Seeing how distraught Gwen is, Frank gives him ‘some advice’ in case he is resuscitated. After talking to Pincus, Frank is then finally allowed to leave.

Pincus wakes up alive in the hospital. He recovers and goes back to work and meets Gwen, who needs dental work. Pincus tells Gwen the real nightmare, which was advice Frank told him, and then assures her ‘he found his way home.’ The movie ends with Gwen saying ‘it hurts when I smile,’ to which Pincus replies ‘I can fix that for you.’

REVIEW:

Other than Monty Python, I don’t typically get British humor, but for some reason Ricky Gervais really cracks me up. This is not one of his funnier roles, but he does have quite a few good funny lines that you can tell he either ad-libbed or that were written specifically for him.

Tea Leoni is your typical girl in the comedy that the protagonsit has fallen for. She does a good good job in the role, though.

Greg Kinnear comes off as a total douche from the moment you first see him until he figures what he has to do to finish what he has to do on Earth. It works, though.

As far as comedies go, I’ve seen funnier. At times, this borders om romantic comedy status, but then it goes back to the formula it is meant to. I wish they would have gone more into why people sneeze when a ghost walks through them, or vice versa. Not to mention why it is exactly he’s able to see the ghosts after dying, but that’s just me. Still, it is a good film and worth viewing.

4 out of 5 stars