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'Heaven' has ghost appeal

If ever anyone hoped for a film made in the same vein as the timeless classic "Ghost" of 1990, he or she should look no further than the light and enjoyable "Just Like Heaven."

While "Heaven" will never experience the otherworldly success of "Ghost" or spawn a hit theme song, it does succeed in serving up a perfect blend of comedic and dramatic fare. Such balance is essential to a film like "Heaven," as is the popularity of its stars. Riding on the ever-capable back of Reese Witherspoon, the film skips along at a brisk pace without losing any of its quirky charm.

The film opens with Elizabeth Masterson (Witherspoon), a young, motivated doctor dedicated to her job and her family. Her workaholic tendencies (she's prone to working 26-hour shifts) leave little room for a social life.

On her way to her sister's house for a blind date, Elizabeth's car is hit by a truck, an accident that leaves her in a coma. Hovering between life and death, Elizabeth's spirit returns to her apartment, only to find a new tenant living there.

David (played by Mark Ruffalo) is a beer-guzzling, mopey mess of a man, struggling to move past a personal tragedy. Thrown together, Elizabeth and David are forced to overcome their differences in order to figure out who Elizabeth is (for she can't remember) and why no one but David can see her.

Lending psychic insight is Jon Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite", anyone?) as Darryl, an employee at an occult bookstore. His antics and spiritual advice earn the most laughs, although Ruffalo isn't far behind. As Elizabeth and David come closer to discovering Elizabeth's identity, they come to terms with themselves and their issues in the process.

The chemistry between Witherspoon and Ruffalo, along with the likeability of their characters, boosts an already good film to an extremely appealing one. The film is surprisingly unpredictable as well, a rare feat for a romantic comedy. Those looking to see a fresh and touching movie will get just what they came for in "Just Like Heaven."

Natalie Franczyk is a senior at Nichols.

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