When misanthrope dentist Dr. Bertram Pincus goes in for a routine procedure and insists on general anesthesia against the wishes of the hospital staff, he gets his way. Immediately afterwards, he starts seeing ghosts and they are asking for his help. He returns to the hospital to inquire about the procedure and why he is hallucinating. He learns that during his procedure he died for a few minutes.
When the ghosts figured out Pincus could see them, he became important. He could help them wrap up their unfinished business with the living so they could finally rest and not walk the earth in limbo. Problem is Pincus is a selfish creep who hates life, until Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), a tuxedoed ghost (what you die in becomes your uniform), asks for his help with his very living widow Gwen (Téa Leoni). Frank wants Pincus to interfere with Gwen and her fiancée, Richard (Bill Campbell), the lawyer with no sense of humor. Pincus refuses; helping or considering anyone else isn’t part of his sensibilities. After Frank’s strong-arming, he helps Gwen by performing a dental exam on one of her museum mummies. There, he has a moment of feeling. Will Pincus know what to do with these foreign feelings? Will he help the Verizon-network-like legion of ghosts tailing him? Will he stop wearing the dentist’s uniform outside his office?
Kinnear and Leoni have acting chops, but Ricky Gervais makes this movie. With his character’s sensitive gag reflex and snooty quips, I cracked up a lot. He does the snooty English humor via NYC sarcasm so damn well. He’s perfect opposite Kinnear’s character’s arrogance. To conclude, everything is better with Ricky Gervais.
Co-writer/Director: David Koepp
Run time: 102 minutes