Through it all there always shone this subtle, gleeful naughty schoolboy charm, not quite a full-on wink at the audience, but a tacit acknowledgement that sometimes even total jerks can exhibit an endearing charm.
Ghost Town, a romantic comedy about the living and the dead coming to terms with each other, is both very funny and a bit of a tearjerker, with an on-the-money performance from Ricky Gervais and a nice feeling for New York in fall.
Although ghost hijinks are a very Hollywood way of dealing with the subject, the twists are executed superbly, right up to a climax that fits the David Mamet definition of what makes for a perfect ending: It is both surprising and inevitable.
It's not just that Gervais isn't your typical leading guy. He's not, and bravo. It's more that Koepp and Gervais hold tight to Bertram's unpleasantness and human clumsiness after most other films would have winked at their intentions.
In this comedy by David Koepp, Gervais handles the big, crowd-pleasing gags with aplomb, though the only scenes that approach the edgy wit of his TV work are those he shares with fellow improvisers Aasif Mandvi and Kristen Wiig.