Just Like Heaven

In Movie Reviews, Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 2:52 am

Just Like Heaven (2005)

Shortly after David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) moves into his new San Francisco digs, he has an unwelcome visitor on his hands: winsome Elizabeth Martinson (Reese Witherspoon), who asserts that the apartment is hers — and promptly vanishes. When she starts appearing and disappearing at will, David thinks she’s a ghost, while Elizabeth is convinced she’s alive. Their quest for the truth ultimately leads to love in this spectral romantic comedy.

There is one key component that every romantic comedy must have to be successful. No matter how sappy the script is, no matter how many holes the story, no matter what the situation the would be romancers find themselves in, if one thing is strong in the story, nothing else matters. And that one thing is chemistry between the two leads. This axiom goes all the way back to the romcoms of the 30s and extends all the way through to today.

In Just Like Heaven, it is a good thing their is exceptional chemistry between Ruffalo and Witherspoon, because the premise and development of the story is such a mess, the movie would fall flat. But the interaction of the two stars make this one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies I have seen in a while.

Think of the story as “City Of Angels” light. Witherspoon is the overworked career women who has no time for a social life. Ruffalo the brooding loner with a secret in his past he is trying to drink himself away from. Sound familiar? Well, it should, because it essentially the same story in every one of the these “seeing your life through deaths eyes” premises. This storyline was first given to us in Dickens “Christmas Carol” and has been repeated in books and film since then. Will Witherspoon see there is more to life than work? Can Ruffalo get passed his past? Yeah, you have seen and heard it.

But, what makes this one different are the stars. Witherspoon’s entire acting career is built on these roles. The cute and perky innocent one. She is this generation’s Meg Ryan, only she does it so much better. And Ruffalo seemed to have fallen into the same mold (although he can currently be seen in Shutter Island). Because both the actors have perfected this genre, they both know how to pull it off exceptionally well.

This is by no means an outstanding movie. There are some scenes which made me just groan out load (in particular the hospital scene at the end). But the cast (included the only time I have actually enjoyed seeing John Heder onscreen) is enjoyable to watch. This is a good Saturday night date movie. Light hearted and not preachy, and the kind you will forget by Sunday morning.

3 out of 5 stars.


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