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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Just Like Heaven

Reese Witherspoon is, frankly, the most adorable actress on the screen today. She is a puppy dog dipped in sugar, surrounded by rainbows. Even when she is dead is can’t help but radiate a smile from this reviewer. Her latest, Just Like Heaven, is aptly named, which was a gamble by the studio Marketing Department that named the film. If it had stunk I imagine many a bad pun from critics calling it everything from Just Like Hell to Just Like Garbage. Fortunately, Reese saves the day as a not-quite-so-dead ghost named Elizabeth who hasn’t quite gotten the clue that she was supposed to look for the light after being hit by a truck. Instead she has returned home to her apartment, now occupied by the chronically depressed David Abbott, played by Mark Ruffalo, an actor of acquired taste. I’ve seen Ruffalo in any number of movies, but this is the first time I felt like he bathed regularly. As a matter of fact, that is precisely a bit of the humor in Just Like Heaven, the problems of enjoying a wee bit of privacy when your home is haunted by an attractive spirit of the opposite gender.

This being a romantic dramedy it is inevitable that Elizabeth, who has suffered amnesia since her accident, remembers who she is, or was, and regains her joie de vie despite her being morte. At the same time, her love of life manages to pull David out of his years' long mourning for his late wife, who was also killed in an accident. Why she never came to haunt him isn’t explained nor is it made clear why nobody but Ruffalo can see Reese, but who cares? The two gradually see the best in one another and naturally fall in love despite the obvious problems that come from loving someone of a different spiritual plane.

So what is to happen to a romance that is only a corpse away from necrophilia? I went into this movie expecting the usual wistful ending with the deceased finally doing the good deeds ala Patrick Swayze in Ghost or James Caan in Kiss Me Goodbye, but thanks to some clever writing by Peter Tolan and Leslie Dixon this story ends in an unexpected and yet blissfully satisfying end.

Yes, it’s a “chick flick”, but it’s the kind of movie that won’t make a man feel like he is wasting two very valuable hours that he could have spent at Home Depot. Give him some of that yummy Essex Outlet Cinemas' popcorn, fill him up with a large soda, and let him settle his manly man butt into one of the cushy-on-the-tushy high-backed rocker chairs and relax. I think he'll find that Just Like Heaven is a fluffy soufflé, and even a man enjoys a tasty treat once in a while.

1 comment:

Brian Hunter said...

A fantastic blog. Keep it up.