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Film / Just Like Heaven

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Just Like Heaven is a 2005 Romantic Comedy, actually based on a novel, in which a troubled alcoholic David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) moves into an apartment with a less-than-solid woman Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon). He thinks she's dead. She insists she isn't. Hilarity Ensues.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The original novel ends with Lauren (renamed Elizabeth for the film) waking up from the coma with no memory of her time as a ghost. The film added an extra scene where Elizabeth and David meet again on the roof of the apartment, she remembers everything, and they kiss. Awww.
  • Afraid of Blood: Played for Laughs, when David is talked through giving someone a tracheotomy by Elizabeth's ghost. After he successfully does this, he asks what something on his hand is. Elizabeth calmly tells him that it's just a little blood and he promptly faints.
  • Afterlife Angst: Elizabeth experiences this when David summons her and tries to get her to realize she's dead. She denies it, despite not remembering her name or what she does during the day... until she winds up standing in the middle of her coffee table. Subverted when it turns out Elizabeth isn't dead (yet).
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: David finally declares that he loves Elizabeth while persuading Jack to help him "steal" her body, leaving Elizabeth deeply touched as nobody had ever said that to her before.
  • An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost: Turns out Elizabeth is actually in a coma rather than dead.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Starts cropping up in the second half of the movie, especially in the second encounter with Darryl.
  • Blind Date: How David and Elizabeth were supposed to meet before her car accident.
  • Casting Gag: Rosalind Chao is Elizabeth's mentor at the hospital. Chao played Pei-Pei in Freaky Friday (2003). During the "exorcism montage," we see...Pei-Pei's mother (Lucille Soong).
  • Converse with the Unconscious: David appears to be doing this, but he's actually talking to Elizabeth's spirit. Also Elizabeth's sister and nieces.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Elizabeth, who's both sexy and dead... or at least, she seems to be dead.
  • Death by Adaptation: David's wife. In the novel, they break up and he's forced to move. Here, she dies and he moves out of their place to escape reminders of her.
  • Dress Hits Floor: A 'Towel' Hits Floor version by Katrina who is trying to seduce David.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Elizabeth not only takes a phone call while driving through an incredibly heavy rainstorm, she even takes her eyes off the road for several seconds to adjust the radio station, which is when she ends up being hit by a truck. She's incredibly fortunate to have survived, let alone without any life-changing injuries.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: David's whole life after his wife's death.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Katrina does this to David when they first meet, prompting Elizabeth to get jealous.
  • Fantastic Romance: Between a living person and a supposed ghost.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: David and his first wife - her death is what's keeping him from forming any new relationships. Elizabeth thinks it's because he can't get over being dumped, and mocks him over it until she finds out the truth.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Not on David, but Elizabeth gets marriage proposals from one of her patients.
  • Forced Euthanasia: Zig-Zagged. When Elizabeth is revealed to be in a coma rather than actually dead, her spirit and David work to reunite her with her body before her sister takes her off of life support. Subverted since Elizabeth had signed forms prior to her accident not to take extraordinary measures to save her life, so her sister believes she's following Elizabeth's wishes by considering pulling the plug. Double subverted since Elizabeth currently doesn't want to be taken off life support because there is still a chance to save her life, but can't tell her sister that since she's a spirit that only David can hear.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: David doesn't appear to do much of anything but drink, yet he can afford (even as a sublet) a large one-bedroom with an astounding view, in San Francisco. He does mention that he recently sold his landscaping company and appeared to have worked for some very wealthy clients during that time. What's more surprising is that medical intern Elizabeth could afford it.
  • Garden of Love: David and Elizabeth bond when he shows her a garden he designed for a client, which is exactly like the one Elizabeth used to daydream about during breaks at work. After she wakes from her coma David builds a garden on the roof of her apartment building, something Elizabeth had told him she'd always wanted to do but never got around to.
  • Ghost Amnesia: As a spirit, Elizabeth had trouble remembering her past life. Similarly, when she awakens, she can't remember her time with David at first.
  • God Test: With David convincing Jack that Elizabeth's ghost is right behind him. Jack pulls a How Many Fingers? that concludes with him Flipping the Bird. And despite this, it still takes a Something Only They Would Say moment to convince him.
  • Happier Home Movie: David in his wedding videos.
  • Heal It with Booze: Elizabeth instructs David (the only one who can see or hear her) to use vodka as a sterilizing agent when performing impromptu surgery on a man in a restaurant.
  • Hospital Hottie: Elizabeth (being a young emergency medicine physician), her mentor, and most of the rest of the staff.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: David performs one despite having no medical training with Elizabeth's talking him through it.
  • Intimate Marks: According to Elizabeth, Katrina has a tattoo on her butt that says "All aboard". In three languages.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Elizabeth remembers that she's a doctor when a man collapses in a restaurant and the waiter calls out for help.
  • Key Under the Doormat: When David locks himself out of the apartment Elizabeth tells him she keeps a spare key under the hallway fire extinguisher. At the end of the movie he tells her about the hiding place to try and jog her memory of their time together.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: David falls in love with the incorporeal Elizabeth, who believes she still lives in her old apartment. When he finds out Elizabeth is in a coma, he races to prevent her death, and succeeds. Once this happens, their love transcends her re-entering her body, forgetting him completely. On top of that, it's revealed that on the night Elizabeth was in the car accident that put her in the coma, she and David had been on their way to have a Blind Date with each other, hinting that the two were somehow always connected.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Elizabeth is a bit of an aversion, as she fulfills much the same role in the plot, but is actually the subdued and responsible force in David's life, in contrast to his wild Best Friend Jack.
  • Married to the Job: Elizabeth was completely dedicated to her work at the hospital, to the point people react with surprise when David lies about being her boyfriend.
  • Modesty Towel: Katrina dons one after her attempt at being Ready for Lovemaking in David's bedroom is ignored by him and she hears him talking alone (From her perspective).
  • The Mourning After: David, so hard - it takes Elizabeth's help for him to get over his late wife.
  • Ms. Fanservice: David's downstairs neighbor, Katrina (played by Ivana Miličević). Elizabeth even says about her that "I mean, I guess she's sexy if you're into that whole tall, big boobs, long legs, model-y sort of thing. I guess if you wanna be that guy."
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: When David is visiting the owner of a Pagan-esque shop to see if he can get Elizabeth to stop haunting him, the shop owner can immediately read the auras of both people in the shop and proceeds to inform them both that they've got some pretty strong feelings for each other and can even feel Elizabeth blushing.
  • Not Quite Dead: Elizabeth. She's just comatose and is projecting her spirit from her body.
  • Non-Human Lover Reveal: In reverse (David knows she's a spirit before they actually fall in love) and subverted as it turns out Elizabeth is in coma all along.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: David begins showering in his briefs after Elizabeth started haunting him.
  • Now or Never Kiss: The climax. Elizabeth's family is preparing to take her off life support, and David kisses her comatose body since he knows it'll be the only chance they have. It turns out to be what wakes her up.
  • The Power of Love: Heavily implied to be the cause of the movie's events.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Katrina takes off all her clothes and poses sexily for David in his bedroom, although we only see her clothes being throw off and Elizabeth's description.
  • The Reveal: Elizabeth is actually in a coma. Also, Jack is JJ, Elizabeth's sister's old beau.
  • Shout-Out: Some Ghostbusters lookalikes are one of the people David gets to exorcize Elizabeth out of the apartment, with even their theme song playing in the background.
  • Second Love: Elizabeth for David, with his first wife dying of brain hemorrhage.
  • Something Only They Would Say: David asks Elizabeth to give him "dirt" on her sister to prove that he's really talking to her. She offers some childhood stories but he stresses it has to be something only a sister would know. Elizabeth supplies the story of Abby kissing her ex-boyfriend on her wedding day. David uses the story when meeting with Abby but all it does is freak her out.
    • The same story ends up being the thing that convinces Jack that David really is speaking to Elizabeth's spirit because he's the ex-boyfriend that Abby kissed.
  • Speed Sex: Elizabeth leaves David alone with Katrina so they can have sex and goes to the roof. Shortly after David shows up and she jokes "That was quick," but he says that nothing happened.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Katrina when she takes off her towel in front of David in her last attempt to seduce him, with a brief Shoulders-Up Nudity shot of her giving him bedroom eyes.
  • Troubled, but Cute: David, a hot guy in mourning for his late wife.
  • True Love's Kiss: How Elizabeth wakes up from the coma.
  • Workaholic: Elizabeth. Work is her life, and it's her sister's efforts to get her to think of more than work (like romance) that leads to her being in her accident that kicks off the plot of the film.
  • Workout Fanservice: Katrina is introduced wearing midriff-exposing workout clothes.
  • You Can See Me?: Played With, Elizabeth discovers David can see her before discovering no one else can.