‘Just Like Heaven’ Movie Review (2005)

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Just Like Heaven Movie ReviewJust like Heaven isn’t so good. It’s not even average. Okay, yeah, some teenage girl somewhere will find it endearing, or maybe someone coming off a tough break-up in need of some quick and easy cheese will find it palatable. Most people will find it to be somewhat ridiculous though. It’s a real head-scratcher. How in the world did this get made?

Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon both have some decent movies to their credit and I can’t figure out why they would subject themselves to this drivel. You know the conditions under which this movie would be good? If there was never a Beetlejuice, if there was never a Ghost, if there was never a Ghostbusters. Matter of fact, you’d even have to get rid of Casper for that matter. Then (and only then) this would have a shot at being an interesting film.

The central story is as follows; Elizabeth (Witherspoon) gets in a car wreck; David (Ruffalo) rents her a fully furnished apartment. Then she haunts him. It is a romantic comedy, and if you’ve seen the trailers you know where this one is heading. Here is where the problems start.

I can buy the off chance a ghost could fall in love with the guy she’s haunting. Sure, I’ll give you that one. Furthermore Ruffalo and Witherspoon have actual chemistry. The question is why does she need to be a ghost? In other words you could put me as a talking dog in the movie and have sweety pie Reese fall in love with me and achieve the same effect. I’m certain we could make it believable. But what exactly is the point? The issue is that the central plot point, her being a ghost, is supposed to be the surprise, the point, and the interesting part. It’s not. You can’t ask the audience to believe the amazing and then also be amazed by it. It’s like a magician who throws milk on you and then expects you to laugh and call it magic. That may be a terrible metaphor but the point is valid. Just like Heaven exists for no good reason. If asking the audience to suspend disbelief doesn’t further the plot one iota then why bother?

Just like Heaven should feature a decent soundtrack as every three minutes they were turning to music from Beck or the Cars. The music transitions aren’t great but the music itself is, so I’ll give a little credit there. The supporting cast is also relatively good with Ivana Milicevic coming off as dreamy (though maybe they didn’t want her to?). Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) is also great during his short minutes on the screen as a spiritual advisor. I hope we see a lot more from him because he is eminently watchable. Actually, a movie with Ivana and Jon probably would have worked for me a little better. Oh well, maybe the DVD will contain that version?

GRADE: D

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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