Ricky Gervais pulls off his first starring role in a Hollywood film. Surprisingly Gervais takes the lead in the romantic comedy Ghost Town playing Bertram Pincus, a depressed British dentist living in Manhattan. And despite initial misgivings he really does come out of it well.

Bertram shuns human contact - ignoring his patients' chatter and his fellow tenants in his apartment block - blanking colleagues who make friendly gestures towards him.

Unlucky in love, he has been deserted by his girlfriend and lives a lonely, reclusive existence. After insisting on a general anaesthetic for a routine procedure he dies for seven minutes on the operating table before being brought back to life.

He then finds he can see ghosts - who once they realise he can see them - begin pestering him to do the good deeds that they must complete before finally leaving the earth. Bertram is pushed into helping Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) - a philandering businessman who wants him to break up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Tea Leoni). Bertram falls in love with Gwen and so begins his journey back to humanity. He realises shutting himself away from the world has just made him lonely and unhappy and he begins to give in and complete the ghosts' good deeds.

Kristen Wiig is hilarious as the surgeon who performed Bertram's operation but who is more interested in how dark her spray tan should be and Gervais has some great lines as he rails against the fake 'have a nice day' culture.

The film's only real drawback is that Gervais, with his scary plucked eyebrows and weird haircut, doesn't quite work as a leading man paired with the beautiful Tea Leoni. Yes he is really funny, yes he stands out as a 'real' person against Gwen's humourless do-gooder fiance, but would she really go for him romantically?

Despite its heartwarming message the film is funny and warm, but thankfully, not overly sentimental.