Just Like Heaven - DVD Review

'Ruffalo shows a more typically funny and open rom-com side which had previously been absent in his repertoire'

Just Like Heaven made it into Film Intel's DVD player by virtue of being directed by the same guy who directed Mean Girls, Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past and The Spiderwick Chronicles, all films that we, well... ahem... enjoyed, although if you ever quote us on that during a serious discussion of something like 2001 we will deny all knowledge.

That 'guy' is Mark Waters, a man who no less than Scott Mendelson calls a 'real director', you know, as opposed to a fake one. Initial signs from just reading the cover of Just Like Heaven are good; it stars a couple of 'real' actors (Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon), has a nice easy-to-follow plot (Witherspoon is dead, Ruffalo can see her) and clocks in at a nice and breezy, lemon squeezy, ninety-five minutes.

Happily, having watched the entirety of those ninety-five minutes, there's nothing in Just Like Heaven to suggest that Waters isn't all that he (and Mendelson) claims to be - like his other films there is a lot of fun to be had here in a story that's never bad enough to be offensive or good enough to stand out markedly.

Waters shows his prowess as a director in particular with Ruffalo, an actor undoubtedly more comfortable with much weightier subject matters and scripts. But Waters doesn't give up easily and on occasions (the scene where he performs a medical procedure with some Vodka in particular) Ruffalo shows a more typically funny and open rom-com side which had previously been absent in his repertoire.

There are some obvious failings too though and although there is much laughter to be had at various moments, on several occasions Just Like Heaven also descends into something fast approaching melodrama, if not outright cheese, a hole Waters' other films resolutely and accurately avoided. The pace too is lightning quick, something which the material demands but which Waters seems uninterested in restraining: good for those who like to get on with it but bad for those who would prefer some more advanced character development of anyone outside of the leads.

Of those leads though, Witherspoon can do this sort of thing with her eyes closed and coupled with the re-born Ruffalo, she ensures that Waters delivers another safe bet with enough mad-cap laughs to make you forget you're watching a formulaic rom-com. On this and later evidence, there's certainly enough promise here to ensure this a director you keep an eye on.

Look further...

'aside from the usual romantic comedy problems, it's a really cute and enjoyable movie' - Film Forager, 3.5/5


  1. Excellent review. Nothing fantastic but an entertaining flick nonetheless and an above average rom-com which is quite a feat these days.

  2. Indeed it is. I'm becoming more and more convinced by Mark Waters. Will perhaps even check his next offering out at the cinema. Perhaps.