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Ghost World (2001)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres:
Comedy Drama, Coming-Of-Age, Teen Comedy
Director:
Terry Zwigoff Terry Zwigoff
Starring:
Thora Birch Thora Birch
Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson
Steve Buscemi Steve Buscemi
Brad Renfro Brad Renfro
Illeana Douglas Illeana Douglas

7.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 05, 2004
We start our feature film up with buddies Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) graduating high school. Neither of them really know what they're going to do in life and have no set goals, other than to get some minimum wage jobs and share an apartment. While the duo are sitting in a fifties diner, Rebecca sees an ad in the personals placed by a guy looking for a girl that he saw at an airport. Enid decides that it would be quite humorous if they called the poor fool up and claimed to be the girl from the ad, convinced him to meet "her" at this restaurant, all the while sitting there and laughing at him. The guy falls for it, shows up, and leaves in a state of depression. Enid and Rebecca decide to follow him and find out where he lives, and they then return the next day to pay a visit. They notice that he and another guy are having a garage sale, so they check out what they're selling. Turns out, the guy they were making fun of is Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a huge record-collecting geek. Over time, Enid starts to become attracted to him, they spend more time together, Rebecca gets pushed to the side, Enid's father (Bob Balaban) restarts his relationship with annoyingly perky Maxine (Teri Garr), Enid is forced to attend summer school, and all sorts of hilarity and tear-shedding ensues.

While the above plot outline seems to be far from original and just another teen comedy, it actually comes off as being much more involved than it seems. Numerous plot twists arise throughout the movie that end up giving it much more depth, and the storyline that we end up with is actually very nice and surprisingly original. There's a fair bit of comedy throughout the film, especially in the first half, but things end up being a solid, effective drama. Don't go in expecting your usual teen film with this one, as it's leagues above all of that nonsense; I'm not sure if I'd agree with the "best film of the year" label that the DVD cover sports, but it does rank up there near the top for sure. I also enjoyed how there were a fair number of small points in the storyline that ended up not going anywhere, but were effective nonetheless. Normally, I would gripe about such a thing, but the way it was executed here turned out to be highly enjoyable. My only real gripe with the movie was the way that it seemed to slow down at times for just a bit too long, causing a touch of boredom... thankfully, these slow-down scenes are scarce and don't hurt the overall movie.

The great acting here also caused some shocking moments; I wasn't expecting such great performances from the crew involved here, but I wound up being proved wrong. Thora Birch (Enid) once again pulls off a solid character, playing the role to perfection. She seems to be so natural in the role, which made for a very convincing and effective performance from her. Her sidekick Scarlett Johansson (Rebecca), while not being downright bad, was nowhere near the level of goodness that Thora pulled off. In my eyes, she just seemed to be a bit too average in the role, and didn't manage to make the audience of I care about her character or situations. Steve Buscemi (Seymour) did manage to pull off a much nicer performance than Scarlett, and wound up being the most entertaining character with the obvious exception of Thora. He manages to play the geek role to perfection, and his naturally geeky looks only help his performance here. There's also a slew of other characters that pop up throughout the film, and with one exception, each pulls out an average performance. That one exception would be Dave Sheridan (Doug, the convenience store nun chucks guy). While he only receives about two minutes of screen-time, those two minutes wound up being some of the funniest in the film, thanks to Dave's hilarious performance.

Well worth the viewing if you're a fan of well executed comedy-drama films, in my humble opinion. While it would seem to be just another mindless teen film upon viewing the cover or trailer, it actually turned out to be quite the great movie. 9/10.
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chad _isnt_fat #1: chad _isnt_fat - added 07/22/2005, 07:28 AM
oh cmon its awesome
Shakes #2: Shakes - added 01/22/2009, 12:19 PM
Really is a great flick. 9/10
Optimus Prime #3: Optimus Prime - added 01/22/2009, 12:46 PM
I think this is one of Steve Buscemi's greatest roles.
Shakes #4: Shakes - added 01/23/2009, 06:50 AM
^ agreed
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