Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a review of a movie that was totally not on my radar. I'll always love Reese Witherspoon from TWILIGHT and ELECTION, however I've found myself totally not interested in her recent fare. But this flick sounds delightfully fucked up. A romantic comedy between a guy and a ghost? Ghostly adventures? Count me there! Here's our longtime contributor SuperMedz with his (mostly positive) opinion of the film from the test screening. Keep in mind the print wasn't final and will likely be fine tuned before they lock it down. Enjoy!
When I was given the opportunity to see Just Like Heaven, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, I felt compelled to pass on the opportunity. I’m definitely not a fan of Miss Elle Woods, and although I do appreciate Ruffalo’s work in several of his films, I was not going to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon standing in line to be a guinea pig for a dumb chick flick. The only reason I gave this movie a chance… was because it was directed by Mark Waters, and I have a soft spot for Lindsay Lohan. You see Mark Waters helmed Mean Girls and Freaky Friday as well as the Parker Posey classic, The House of Yes. So off I was to see Just Like Heaven.
Reese Witherspoon plays Elizabeth, a hospital doctor who has no time for a boyfriend. Very early on in the film (the first five minutes) she gets into a car accident. David (Mark Ruffalo) sublets her now vacant apartment, which is haunted by her spirit. She wants him out, and he wants to understand who she is, but eventually, they fall in love. There’s elements of Ghost, All Of Me, The Exorcist, and a hilarious reference to Ghostbusters. The tone ranges from screwball to very sentimental; oh it’s far from original, but I would say that Dreamworks has a winner on their hands.
I believe that the film is based on a book titled If Only It Were True. I have no idea how faithful of an adaptation it is, but there is a definite shine to this screenplay that has been missing from romantic comedies of recent. Most notably is the fact that the actual romance is not forced. Not until the third act is there any actual action between Elizabeth and David, but there is a ton of chemistry. Instead you watch them on their goofy, supernatural adventure. You actually see their relationship develop before they even notice it. That’s the magic of this film, and that’s why it works.
Both Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo really shine. Reese is so adorable… this is totally unrelated, but my jaw dropped when I saw how much weight she has lost since Legally Blonde 2, her waist is tiny! Anyway, hopfully, this film will put Ruffalo on the map. I think he is totally under appreciated. Most soccer moms have no idea who he is, and I think a lot of them will leave the theater swooning since he really carries the movie; in a lot of ways, Reese is just here for support… life support to be exact. (hint hint)
Now, I don’t mean for this to be a rave review. It’s a really solid romantic comedy. Donal Logue plays Ruffalo’s best friend and that guy never fails to annoy the fuck out of me. The only time I’ve ever enjoyed him in a movie was Blade and that was strictly because Wesley Snipes slices off his arm. Also, the ending is totally rushed. I really don’t want to go into it, because it has a great twist, but I wrote a really detailed response to the test screening cronies so hopefully things will be changed before the film is released in September, but I will say that Reese just totally loses her charm at the end of the movie. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it.
My favorite quality about the film is that it’s touching without being manipulative. It’s funny without being stupid. It’s sexy while being appropriate for kids. Get my point? It’s subtle. It’s a modern day fairy tale set in beautiful San Francisco, and a lot of this movie is a love letter to the city. A lot of us, me included, avoid movies like this, but this one is definitely well crafted. I liked Mean Girls though so maybe you should tell me to fuck off. At any rate, Dreamworks has box office gold on their hands, not that it matters, right???