Ghost Town

Bertram Pincas (Ricky Gervais), a socially- challenged New York City dentist, emerges from a routine colonoscopy with the uncanny ability to see and speak to the dead. When word of his ability gets out in the spirit community of his ability, he becomes the go-to- guy for every ghost with unfinished bisinessbusiness. One such ghost is Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), who is determined to stop a relationship involving his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), and so he seeks Bertram’'s help in the matter.

The first two acts take forever to unwind, but the rewarding conclusion almost makes it worth the wait. Ricky Gervais has some great one-liners as the cantankerous lead, Kinnear doesn’'t break any new ground, and Leoni looks fantastic in HD.

The AVC encode is a decent effort, but it suffers from some inconsistencies. Flesh tones are all over the map, from very natural to sickly yellow—sometimes in the same scene. Color saturation is very clean and bright, although I did notice occasional banding in solid backgrounds. On a positive note, the black levels are very solid and deep, providing ample shadow detail.

The run of the millrun-of-the-mill Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is what one would expects from a romantic comedy. The surround speakers are virtually silent with only the occasional ambient effect, but the music does liven- up the action on occasion. Dialog is firmly rooted in the center speaker, and intelligibility is never an issue.

The supplements include an audio commentary from director David Koepp and Ricky Gervais plus three HD featurettes about the making of the movie, the special effects, and six- minutes of a completely unfunny gag reel featuring Ricky Gervais.

I found Ghost Town to be a bit tedious in the early going, but Gervais was funny enough to keep me interested in the payoff at the end. The presentation isn’'t anything to write home about, but the this romantic comedy is worth a rental.

Release Date: December 28, 2008

Movie: 5/10
Picture: 7/10
Sound: 7/10

Review System

Panasonic DMP-BD55 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics