Ghost (December 27/08)
An unapologetic crowd pleaser, Ghost follows the spirit of a mild-mannered banker (Patrick Swayze's Sam Wheat) as he attempts to both solve his own murder and say goodbye to his devoted girlfriend (Demi Moore's Molly). It's clear right off the bat that director Jerry Zucker is looking to evoke the feel of an old-fashioned Hollywood romance, as the filmmaker shamelessly attempts to capture the viewer's interest with a myriad of recognizable (and downright hoary) elements - including the hiss-worthy villain and the almost absurdly idealized relationship between Sam and Molly. The degree to which screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin develops the characters and the admittedly absurd storyline proves instrumental in allowing one to overlook the almost egregious familiarity of the whole thing, with the palpable chemistry between Swayze and Moore certainly standing as Ghost's strongest (and justifiably indelible) attribute. It's only as the movie creeps into its relatively uneventful midsection that the viewer's interest starts to wane, as Rubin places the emphasis on subplots that simply aren't all that interesting and seem to have been included simply to pad out the running time (ie Sam's sleazy friend Carl hits on Molly). There's also little doubt that Rubin's script is increasingly unable to withstand close scrutiny, with the presence of several head-scratching elements (ie why can't Sam, after learning how to move objects, just touch Molly instead of using Whoopi Goldberg's Oda Mae Brown as a vehicle?) essentially demanding that the viewer take things at a purely surface level and not ask too many questions. Such deficiencies hardly impede one's overall enjoyment of the piece, however, and it's ultimately impossible to deny Ghost's place as an entertaining, unexpectedly moving love story.