For a romantic comedy that borrows considerably from Ghost, Just Like Heaven is about three times sweeter and funnier than it has any right to be. With the help of director Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday), what should have been another saccharine, forgettable Reese Witherspoon vehicle -- and she's made plenty of them -- is actually a nicely crafted fantasy with a dynamic supporting cast.

Witherspoon plays Elizabeth, a talented but career-driven doctor at a San Francisco hospital who crashes her car into a semitrailer during the prologue. Three months later, David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo), drunkenly mourning a loss of his own, moves into Elizabeth's vacant apartment (because he likes the couch.) The film starts moving along at an amiably snappy pace when David reluctantly acknowledges and agrees to help Elizabeth, who seems to have no idea who she is, how she died or why her spirit is stuck in limbo.

Ruffalo and Witherspoon have a lot of fun with the goofy plot, and the two charming leads are ably aided by David's hilarious shrink (Donal Logue of VH1 fame) and a geeky occult bookseller (Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder). Though Heaven rarely takes itself seriously, the film stumbles into sappy territory towards the end and has its share of weighty inconsistencies -- like how can David, a landscape architect, afford to buy virtually any condo in San Francisco and then just sit around moping during working hours? Yet for all its flaws, this supernatural romance is lighthearted enough to wrap up the summer movie season on a rather heavenly note.


Comments

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.