When a dentist gains the ability to speak to the dead after a botched colonoscopy, he falls for a ghost's ex-wife. Bertram Pincus is a dentist who doesn't get along with anyone. All he wants in life is to be left alone... which is about to become exceedingly difficult. When he experiences a complication during the anesthetic he is given for his colonoscopy, it is revealed to him that he was technically dead for a couple of minutes. When he leaves the hospital, he finds he can now see and hear dead people walking all over the Earth. Once the ghosts realize he can see them, they all start bothering him-- at work, on the street, even in his apartment while he tries to sleep. Finally, Bertram agrees to help one ghost, Frank, when Frank claims he can keep all of the other ghosts away. Frank was a businessman hit by a bus while attempting to find a home for him and his mistress. When his wife, Gwen, finds this out after his death, she's furious. She subsequently gets engaged to a slimy lawyer, which drives Frank crazy. He believes he is stuck on Earth as a ghost to break up the two of them. Bertram works at getting close to Gwen in order to earn her trust, and despite some early speedbumps due to his usual inability to connect with people, eventually they become friends. He finds out that Gwen and Richard have already broken up, leaving Bertram to realize that he's in love with her now, and leaving Frank wondering why he's still on Earth. When Gwen begins to wonder how Bertram knows some of the things he knows about her, he's forced to tell her that he speaks to ghosts, and it predictably goes poorly. Before winning her back, Bertram must first learn how to be happy on his own, and he begins helping the other ghosts around the city.
Best part of story, including ending:
This is a lovely little film, wildly and unfairly under-appreciated by romantic comedy fans. It boasts real relationships, and its fantasy elements feel magical.
Best scene in story:
Bertram finally gets Gwen to like him when he visits her at her job at the museum and helps her discover something about a mummy by examining its teeth.
Opinion about the main character:
Bertram is wildly unlikable at first, but we can see he's not a jerk because he's mean, he's a jerk because he's so sad and doesn't know another way to be. Gervais is fantastic at this.