A 2008 supernatural comedy by writer/directer David Koepp and starring Ricky Gervais.
After suffering a near death experience during routine surgery, where he was technically dead for 7 minutes (a bit less), misanthropic dentist Bertram Pincus (Gervais) begins seeing the ghosts of people who died with unfinished business. When the ghosts realize that Pincus can see them, they begin following him around, asking for his help in crossing over. He, of course, does his best to ignore them all, but one ghost in particular finally gets his attention: Frank (Greg Kinnear), who believes that if he can get Pincus to prevent his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni) from marrying a new guy that is completely wrong for her, he can finally cross over.
The film contains examples of the following Tropes:
- Back from the Dead: Luckily for Pincus, he doesn't have to stay a ghost for long.
- Big Applesauce
- Big, Friendly Dog: Gwen's Great Dane. Pincus remarks, "I like your horse!"
- Depraved Dentist: While certainly not sadistic or even scary, Pincus wasn't winning any awards for his misanthropy and uncaring bedside manner.
- Dice Roll Death: Double-subverted. At the beginning, Frank dodges out of the way of a falling air conditioner... by unknowingly jumping into the street, where he promptly gets hit by a bus. See also Take a Moment to Catch Your Death, below.
- Hilarious Outtakes: One involves bouncing dog shit.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason that Frank finally gets to leave.
- Insistent Terminology: Pincus was dead for a bit less than seven minutes.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: The ghosts can't change their clothes from what they died in. Or put on any clothes if they died naked.
- Jerkass: Pincus originally embodies this trope, before showing his true colors as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Left the Background Music On:
- Pincus is being chased by a bunch of ghosts, accompanied by lively chase music; then they run past the street violinist who is providing it.
- Later in the movie, he's coming clean to another character about the whole I See Dead People thing and the camera pans away to reveal that the drum music in the BGM is being played by a guy on a nearby park bench.
- Love Triangle: A somewhat strange example, considering one of the three is dead. Also technically a "love quadrangle" if you count Gwen's new guy.
- Naked People Are Funny: The naked ghost.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for this film makes the other "ghosts" into much more of the plot than they actually are. Aside from Frank of course, they're just there to mark Pincus's Character Development.
- Noodle Incident: What was the deal with the naked guy?
- Precision F-Strike: "Did you ever think about not being such a fucking prick all the time?"
- Romantic Comedy: Subverted. For a time, the movie progresses like a quirky but typical romantic comedy - Pincus meets Gwen while just trying to deal with her ex-husband, but falls in love with her, starts a relationship based on a lie and has to deal with her perfect boyfriend, etc. However, after the point where he has to reveal the truth the movie suddenly takes a hard right into being about Pincus becoming a better person rather than their relationship, with his treatment of Gwen being one consequence of that. In the end the movie leaves it entirely up in the air whether Pincus and Gwen get together or not.
- Romantic False Lead: Played with. Gwen's new guy is an example of over the top perfection. Frank insists that he must be secretly evil, but it turns out to really be his jealousy and insecurity talking. After falling for her Pincus decides she doesn't really love him, and while they do break up we last see him while saving Pincus' life he's attempting to reconcile with her. The last scenes don't confirm one way or another whether he and Gwen worked things out.
- Running Gag: Every time someone walks through a ghost, they sneeze. This gets extreme when Pincus must traverse an entire room full of ghosts, trying to get away from them all.
- Sim Sim Salabim: Pincus seems to follow this mentality when asking fellow dentist Dr. Prashar for advice:Pincus: Dr. Prashar - you're from a... scary country, right?[pause]Dr. Prashar: I'm from India...Pincus: But, you're not... Christian, like us?[pause]Dr. Prashar: I'm a Hindu...Pincus: Yeah. So, um, how would you extract information from a hostile?Dr. Prashar: Well... as a... Hindu person... I would just... ask him... politely...
- Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: What happened to Frank. He narrowly misses getting his skull caved in by a falling air conditioner. While he's marveling about this, he's hit by a bus.
- Undignified Death: Pincus acquired his ability to see the dead due to a near-death experience... during a colonoscopy.
- Unfinished Business: Why Pincus is seeing all these ghosts. They all have some Unfinished Business that they needed to take care of—something that they didn't do or say. After Pincus helps them, they disappear. He eventually figures out that it typically has less to do with the ghost themselves and more with the people still living who won't let them go.