At first you think Ghost Town is about a jerk named Frank, as portrayed by supreme jerk-player Greg Kinnear. We meet him as he's on the phone, chewing out his realtor for getting his wife mixed up with his girlfriend. ("Does 'Amber' sound like the wife of a man my age?!") Next thing you know, he's dead, his spirit stuck wandering Manhattan, still wearing the tuxedo he had on at the time of his demise.

But no, Ghost Town is actually about a dentist named Bertram Pincus, though I don't believe anyone in the movie ever calls him by anything other than his last name. He's played by Ricky Gervais, whom you know from The Office and Extras, and Pincus is a variation on those brilliant characters: snarky, discourteous, and wholly misanthropic, yet also very funny -- not just to the audience but occasionally even to the other characters. It turns out he's the kind of misanthrope who can really make you laugh once you get to know him.

Pincus dies for a few minutes while undergoing a minor hospital procedure, and when he comes back he has the unique ability to see and hear the hundreds of ghosts, like Frank the jerk, who haunt New York. As usual with these stories, the ghosts have unfinished business for which Pincus' help is required; the twist is that Pincus has no interest in helping anyone, living or dead, for any reason.

It may sound like Ghost Town centers around too many "jerk: characters, but it's really only Frank who comes off that way. Pincus is too funny, and we are too much on his side (because really, other people ARE kind of annoying) to dislike him. Besides, he's balanced out by Gwen (Tea Leoni), Frank's sweet and kind widow, who works as an Egyptologist and lives in Pincus' building. She's about to marry a guy Frank doesn't like, and Frank wants Pincus to break them up. Pincus, instantly smitten with the lovely Gwen, decides to position himself as the alternative.