Just Like Heaven Movie Review

Ah death - so hilarious. If not for the neo-glow cinematography and jangly pop soundtrack, one could almost mistake Just Like Heaven as a potentially morbid downer. The story starts with a car crash, follows with an impromptu haunting, and then introduces a sad sack crippled by his depression. Are we laughing yet?

Heaven actually softens the blow by refining its cute idea about two souls needing a connection. One of them just happens to be a widow and the other a ghost. The former, David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo), lost his wife and hasn't been able to recover from the shock. The latter, Elizabeth Martinson (Reese Witherspoon), was a workaholic doctor who was the victim in the aforementioned car accident. When he moves in to her newly available San Francisco flat, David discovers Elizabeth's restless spirit around every corner, and the two set out to learn why her soul is trapped in limbo.

I see you rolling your eyes at the idea of Witherspoon unleashing another romantic comedy on us. And while it's true she often treads the genre's waters, she's reliably pleasant in each and often goes the extra mile to find a fresh angle. She's the anti-Meg Ryan, who sunk into a romantic-comedy rut years ago. Here, Witherspoon is given one aggressive, no-nonsense beat to hammer throughout the film, leaving Ruffalo ample room to improvise and show off his surprisingly powerful comedic vibe. Channeling Steve Martin from All of Me, Ruffalo taps a good, goofy vein that peps his performance. The two share noticeable chemistry and sharp timing.

Heaven does forget its own rules for the benefit of the larger story. For instance, Elizabeth's hands move through solid objects (like a telephone) when she reaches for them, but she's able to sit on park benches and in the cab of David's car. She also has a reflection. I'm nitpicking, I know, but movies receive bonus points when they can explain these details, so we have to be fair and deduct points when continuity issues are overlooked.

Even when Heaven needs to buckle down and resolve its conflicts, director Mark Waters (Mean Girls) guarantees that his movie keeps the laughs in view. Song selection continues to be important to Waters, a buoyant filmmaker as adept with an iPod as he is with a lens. He opens his comedy with an alternate version of The Cure's catchy Just Like Heaven and keeps the dial spinning for 90 airy minutes. Granted, the social arguments tied to a coma patient's right to life that surface in the film's conclusion seem out of touch with the film's established, jovial mood, but I give Waters and his screenwriters credit for even attempting a detour down that alley.

Heaven is pleasurable despite its problems. The final scenes require Ruffalo and sidekick Donal Logue (doing John Candy's Splash routine) to flounder through a slapstick dash through a hospital, followed by the requisite schmaltzy ending. We want a happy resolution, but saccharine this sweet is best served in coffee.

Just like San Francisco.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , Walter F. Parkes,

Comments

Andrew T's picture

Andrew T

It seems that only professional movie critics make disparaging remarks about "Just Like Heaven". Ordinary movie-goers (yours truly included) all love this movie!!

8 years 1 month ago
Report
View Comments

Usher_#_1's picture

Usher_#_1

at first i thought it waz a bad movie but when the ending came it waz soo f**kin sweet i almost cried

8 years 11 months ago
Report
View Comments

pinky_leigh_06's picture

pinky_leigh_06

Just Like Heaven was such an awesome movie I watched it 6 times!!!! Reese Witherspoon is the best actress in the world!!!! and I love all her other movies!!11

8 years 5 months ago
Report
View Comments

Just Like Heaven Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 2005

Advertisement

More Reese Witherspoon

Could Reese Witherspoon Be Set For A 'McConaissance'?

Ahead of the Toronto International Film Festival, a great deal of talk is about Reese Witherspoon and a possible career revival a la Matthew McConaughey’s...

Stand Up To Cancer Reveals Its Incredible Celebrity Line-Up

Stand Up To Cancer aims to reiterate the point that everyone is connected and everyone can be affected by cancer with their every-two-year telethon which...

Reese Witherspoon Demonstrates Appropriate Wedding Etiquette By Rocking Out To "I Will Survive" In Italy

If you’re getting the “end of the weekend blues” at this point, don’t worry – we’ve got just the thing for you. It’s a video...

A Week In Movies: Hudson Wows New York, Planes And Pudsey Premiere, Plus New Trailers For Cave, Knightley And Witherspoon

A sleek and sexy Kate Hudson wowed the red carpet at the New York premiere of her new film Wish I Was Here. She was...

Advertisement

Wild Trailer

When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing down around her. With her family members distancing themselves from...

The Good Lie Trailer

During the Second Sudanese Civil War, thousands upon thousands of children are left orphaned - many who are moved to refugee camps and come to...

Devil's Knot Movie Review

Based on the events documented in West of Memphis and the Paradise Lost trilogy, this drama takes an almost clinical approach to the story. By...

Devil's Knot Trailer

Devil's Knot is a biographical thriller drama based on the events of the West Memphis Three case directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe)...

Advertisement