I kinda missed the kiss.
Ok, the movie that "Ghost Town" reminded me of most was "As Good As It Gets," and I'm not sure there's a kiss there either.
But I'm a dumb, happy-ending-loving American, and I was still kinda hoping for one.
I was feeling a litle blue yesterday, for a variety of CSO and non-CSO related reasons. When I'm feeling blue, I usually go to the movies. I'd read that "Ghost Town" was supposed to be good, so Jana-who-Creates and I caught the late show. During the previews, which by the way, I swear to God, began with a preview where Robert Downey. Jr. had a bicycle accident and messed up the side of his face*, I saw several previews for dramas that looked well-made and well-acted and I had no desire to see.
JwC and I did admit that we were probably going to see that Reese Whitherspoon/Vince Vaugh Christmas movie, though. I guess in a deep sense I go to the movies to be entertained, and my taste runs to the sugary. This is doubly odd in that Boston Legal aside, I watch almost exclusively mysteries on TV.
From the "Smart Person who just wants to be entertained" perspective, "Ghost Town" was just about perfect. Ricky Gervais is brilliant as a misanthropic dentist who finds putting cotton in people's mouths and thus making them shut up one of the true perks of his job. Tea Leoni gives spark to a leading lady role that could well have come off as Gervais' good behavior prize, but doesn't. Greg Kinnear plays the same guy Greg Kinnear usually plays, as in, he's basically well-meaning, but kind of a tool.
It's a comment on the way moviemaking works that a movie that a movie so patently ridiculous could feel so real. Even the one-liners are perfectly on-the-mark:
Hospital Nurse: [after Bertram's colonoscopy] Come back soon.
Bertram Pincus: What a terrible thing to say in a hospital
Making this sort of movie has to be hard to do. It's mean, but it doesn't go over the top. It's sweet and goofy without being cheesy. It's smart but not taxing to a girl who hasn't gotten a lot of sleep this week. There's a fair amount of the sort of social awkwardness comedy that the CSO really hates, but the comedy is pretty much all character-driven and feels natural. I have minor plot point quibbles, but they all seem to pale when I consider how rarely it is that a "feel-good comedy" actually makes one feel good.
And the last two lines of dialogue are understated romantic genius that really make up for the lack of kiss.
After all, life doesn't always end with the big, happy kiss. Personalities get in the way. People get torn apart by circumstance, or because they let themselves.
A little bit of connection is sometimes the best we can do in this world.
*Jana grabbed my hand and said something like "Oh, honey" but for whatever reason I was OK. Partially because, and I know this is weird, Robert Downey junior messed up the left side of his face while theCSO messed up the RIGHT side of his face. It doesn't seem logical to me that this distinction was helpful, but it was.