David (Ruffalo) gets more than he bargained for when he rents a swish San Francisco apartment it comes complete with a ghost only he can see, former tenant Elizabeth (Witherspoon). Shes not about to leave, either, as Elizabeths convinced shes not act
Leave all logical reasoning at the cinema door and any cynicism at home and you’ll no doubt enjoy this 21st-century comedy twist on Ghost. Headlined by America’s sweetheart, Reese Witherspoon — who gets to display all the over-achieving, snippy mannerisms she’s perfected in movies like Sweet
Home Alabama and Election — it’s basically the story of a workaholic who finally gets a life when, erm, she’s not actually living anymore.
Yes, it seems in today’s busy work-first, social-life-later society, the only way Elizabeth can find true love is by having a head-on collision with a truck, then haunting the depressed tenant (Ruffalo) now living in her apartment until he falls for her. Which is all very predictable — and stuffed, of course, with just about every rom-com convention: the sceptical but supportive best friend (Donal Logue) with all the best lines; the quirky spiritualist (Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder) as the only one who believes David; the misunderstandings involving a voluptuous neighbour; and various other confusions that would be cleared up in two minutes if the protagonists just sat down and had a proper conversation with each other. But there are some surprises here — just as love is finally on the way, director Mark Waters goes somewhere surprisingly darker, creating a final hurdle that our lovebirds must overcome on the road to happiness.
While it doesn’t entirely work — there are annoying little inconsistencies such as Elizabeth being ghostly enough to walk through walls and furniture, yet seemingly full enough of body to sit in a car — Waters moves things along at such a sprightly pace you almost don’t have time to notice (and, thankfully, he doesn’t pack the film with sappy bits, either), while the San Francisco locations, glistening in the sunlight, add to the fairy-tale feel.
Most enjoyable of all, though, is the fun chemistry between the likeable Witherspoon and brooding ‘serious’ actor Mark Ruffalo (who looks a lot more comfortable here than he did in his last
romantic comedy, 13 Going On 30). It’s their on-screen rapport and sweet romance that make this cute affair worth watching.
A sweet but predictable chick flick, this coasts by on the considerable charm of its two leads.