Just Like Heaven

Release Date: February 7, 2006

Just Like Heaven, is based on a novel by Mark Levy originally called If Only It Were True, which did mediocre in sales but comes off the pages thanks to its stars and not the weak plot. (I happened to have read the book and the movie is much better).

The Film
Reese Witherspoon plays Elizabeth Masterson a work driven ER doctor, who spends most of her free time doing double shifts at the hospital in order to become a resident there. Her friends and coworkers meanwhile keep trying to set her up on dates, but she never has the time. When speeding down San Francisco’s hills to arrive on time for a set-up her sister arranged, she gets into a serious accident that puts her into a coma at the very hospital she used to work at. In walks another lonely soul, widower David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) who is temporarily renting Elizabeth’s apartment, which has now been vacant for two months. But it turns out the very neat apartment is not really vacant. Elizabeth’s spirit/soul somehow has traveled back to her apartment while her body remains lifeless back at the hospital. To make matters worse, Elizabeth at first does not realize that she isn’t her full self or remembers her car accident; instead she thinks that David has broken into her apartment and is aghast at his sloppy behavior. David of course thinks he’s crazy by seeing Elizabeth’s spirit appear and disappear and order him to use a coaster and get out of HER apartment. He then tries all different ways to get rid of her, but she just won’t go away. Funny scenes result as David is the only one who can see her spirit, which he of course starts to fall for as he tries to help her regain her life while in turn fixing his own in the meantime.

The Extras
There aren’t any! Just an interactive menu and previews, which at this point is standard. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French.

The Delivery
The film is available in widescreen and full screen editions, but sold separately and presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Visually the film is very colorful with lots of bright colors and includes scenes that are visually pleasing and crisp.

The Final Cut
It’s easy to dismiss this film because of the outlandish supernatural plot and write it off as another run-of-the-mill chick flick film, but it has heart even during its weaker scenes. What saves the film from being a waste of time is that the stars, Witherspoon and Ruffalo are absolutely adorable in their roles. It is their performances that keep you watching and seeing if the two will get together in “body and soul.”

The Upside:
It’s a cute ‘it-is-what-it-is’ chick flick, perfect rental for date night or a sleepover with the girls.
The Downside:
The plot obviously makes the story hard to believe and there aren’t enough moments where the characters can be seen falling in love, instead they go from dislike to then saying they love each other and fighting to be together. Also, the ending dragged a bit longer than necessary.
On the Side:
Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder has an enjoyable bit part playing another eccentric character, this one though can sense spirits and dispense love advice while doing so.

Making the Grade:
The Film: B-
The Delivery: B
The Extras: F
Overall DVD: B-/C+

Tags: Just Like Heaven, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Romantic Comedy