Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Spirited Love Story

Too bad the disappointing previews of “Just Like Heaven” might prevent some filmgoers from seeing this clever romantic comedy. Based on Marc Levy’s popular novel “If Only It Were True,” the movie is a real treat.

Reese Witherspoon, who became America’s sweetheart in “Legally Blonde,” stars as a spirit hovering in an apartment rented by Mark Ruffalo. He’s a disheveled, morose guy who spends most of his time slacking off and sitting on the couch drinking beer. Witherspoon’s spirit suffers from amnesia, then finally remembers she’s a medical doctor with a Type A personality who became the victim of a car accident. Ruffalo’s character is still grieving over the death of his wife.

Both of these befuddled people insist that the other must leave the apartment, so there’s a lot of yelling and arguing at first. But in the push-pull of their relationship, they get to know a lot about each other. The more they find out about one another, the closer they bond. In fact, they end up taking drastic steps to help each other. The most hilarious one involves recruiting a series of exorcists and ghost busters to assist them.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it by giving away other plot details. But I will say that this film is full of surprises. There’s more than meets the eye going on, and it’s deeper than you think. Finally, as in most romantic comedies, much of the film’s success comes from the chemistry between the co-stars. Happily, Witherspoon and Ruffalo make magic together on the big screen.

Guess how I can tell that a romantic comedy is really working? It’s when my husband laughs most of the time while watching it instead of falling asleep. As the end credits rolled for Just Like Heaven, he turned to me and said, “I sure did enjoy this movie!”


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