JUST LIKE HEAVEN (Mark Waters). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (September 16). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The trailers for Just Like Heaven make it look like a silly romantic comedy. They're misleading, but I'm not sure how else it could have been marketed. While You Were Sleeping A Ghost Experienced It's A Wonderful Life?
Mark Ruffalo plays yet another shaggy guy, this one named David, a San Fran landscape architect who's mourning the loss of his wife by drinking himself unconscious.
Soon he groggily wakes up to find perky and anal-retentive Elizabeth ( Reese Witherspoon ) bossing him out of his new apartment. She used to live there, but as the two soon discover, she's just a spirit. Her real body is in a coma in the hospital where she used to work as a doctor.
The fact that David is the only soul who can see Elizabeth -- though a New Agey type played with breezy irreverence by Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder senses her aura -- provides a series of sight gags that soon becomes tiresome.
Ruffalo, not the lightest comic, looks uncomfortable in much of the film, and director Mark Waters , used to helming teen flicks like Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, seems out of his element.
But Witherspoon is believable as a workaholic physician. Her character's single-minded need for self-awareness is both funny and moving. And the final act has a warmth and magic missing from many chick flicks.