Just Like Heaven

| September 16, 2005

Who’s in the mood for a great date movie? Do you believe that if we listen, The Universe matches us up with the one we should be with? If you are, I have one for you. Just Like Heaven opens this weekend and if you like the formula Hollywood Boy Gets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl formula, then you should go see it with someone you want to have your arm around.
How did I get so sappy? Hey, I love a good love story as much as the next 14-year-old girl (the theater was crawlin’ with them) so Just Like Heaven was very enjoyable.
Reese Witherspoon (The Sweet Home Alabama, Election, Pleasantville Reese, not the Legally Blonde, Reese) stars as Dr. Elizabeth Masterson, a newly elevated resident at St. Matthews Hospital where she spends so much time that her neighbors think she is a cat lady without the cats. On the day she is promoted, she is in an auto accident and the next time we see her is as a ghost-like aberration in her newly rented apartment. It is there that she meets newly widowed David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo from Collateral and The Last Castle). It’s just that he is the only one who can see her because evidently… she is dead.
Or is she? According to Darryl, the guy at the Psychic Bookstore where David goes to help get rid of his ghost, there is something odd about this particular spirit. When all of the obvious methods of getting rid of ghosts don’t work–thankfully director Mark Waters (Mean Girls) doesn’t spend all that much time on that plot line–David decides to help Elizabeth figure out where she is supposed to be. And thus the love story begins.
Witherspoon and Ruffalo were well matched for this movie. They work well together on screen and Ruffalo works even better in the reality shots where Witherspoon is not seen by anyone else. Darryl is played by Napoleon Dynamite’s John Heder. In a supporting role, Heder is fantastic. I am guessing that his presence is the reason that the audience was largely filled with teens who clapped at his first appearance on screen. Heder’s fans will be able to applaud a lot as he has SIX other movies scheduled for production and release in the next two years.
Also good in a supporting role is Donal Logue. He plays David’s best friend, who, as a psychiatrist, is interested in his friend’s depression from losing his wife when it is coupled with seeing a woman who apparently is not there. Logue has been doing movies since 1990 but has had little notice until the debut of his hit TV show Grounded For Life in 2001. I have since rewatched Jerry Maguire, Reindeer Games, and Runaway Bride only to realize what a great job he has done for awhile. I am about to review The Groomsman (a chick flick starring men) and he is the only high point.
You cynical people ask, didn’t I notice that there were some holes in the plot? Hmmmmm. I guess there were. For example, Hollywood has yet to come up with the answer to the “Why do ghosts go right through walls and furniture but are able to sit in a car when it is moving?” There are also a couple of obvious things involving Logue that would have moved the story along faster but were ignored, making the story more “dreamy,” including a cute reference to Sleeping Beauty. The effects to make Witherspoon a ghost are fantastic, however.
I don’t often urge you to go to the theater for movies… Most are rentals. This one is not. Go see this wonderfully funny love story in the theater. It is a great date flick.

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