December 21, 2005 -- This movie is like a romantic comedy Chinese dinner. You watch it and an hour later you are hungry again for a romantic comedy. It is less filling and less funny than good romantic comedies. The film's premise is supernatural. David Abbott (played by Mark Ruffalo of “Collateral”), moves into an apartment leased previously by a doctor, Elizabeth Masterson. Elizabeth shows up at the apartment frequently, complaining that the apartment and its furnishings are hers. The only problem is, she seems to be a ghost. She cannot be touched and she can walk through walls. She is driving Abbott nuts.
Abbott tries everything he can think of to rid himself of the problem. He tries psychotherapy, an exorcism (in a very funny bit by actor Raymond O'Connor), various magic spells, and finally hires a psychic to evaluate the situation. He finds a psychic working in an occult book store. The store clerk, Darryl (Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite”), figures out what is going on and tells Abbott how to fix it, but his instructions are so cryptic it takes Abbott a long time to solve his problem. Darryl is a very odd and very funny character in the movie.
This is a very light romantic comedy. It is not unpleasant, and it isn't bad. It just isn't really above average. Ruffalo and Witherspoon are good on screen together. There are some funny lines and a body theft chase scene in a hospital reminiscent of a similar scene in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” The film explores issues like medical ethics and fate in a shallow way. It makes the argument that some people were destined to meet and fall in love, even if they have to conquer death to make it happen. The film is pleasant and amusing enough, but lacks much of a romantic punch. This film rates a C.
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