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Ghost World

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A-
Video/Audio/Extras: A-/B+/D+

Directed by: Terry Swigoff
Written by: Terry Swigoff and Daniel Clowes
Based on the comic book by: Daniel Clowes
Produced by: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith
Starring: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Bob Balaban, Dave Sheridan
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

I admit that enjoy teen comedies. From John Hughes classics like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off to recent gross-out hits like the American Pie series, they have always rocked my boat. However, I do admit that they have their flaws and are usually quite predictable. Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World on the other hand and is rarely predictable and that is what sets it apart from the other teen films out there. In fact, this is more adult in nature than any teenage comedy I have ever seen (along with Election and Mallrats).

Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have just graduated from secondary school and planning on moving to an apartment together. Even though they are very different, they are still very close friends. However, they do enjoy following people and playing pranks on them. One of them is Seymour (Steve Buscemi), who Enid later becomes friends with. Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes (the latter adapting his own comic book) have constructed a wonderfully witty and entertaining screenplay that very much deserved the Oscar nomination that it receives. The performances are the highlight however with recognition going to the always great Steve Buscemi as Seymour. Taking a break from his usual villanous roles (most notably Reservoir Dogs and Fargo), he makes his character a likable figure that a lot of us can relate to. Thora Birch, fresh off her work in American Beauty, is also awards worthy playing Enid and a young Scarlett Johansson proves she is one of the best actresses of my generation. Some people might be confused by Ghost World, but if you're up for a cliche-dashing piece of work, it's worth watching.

MGM isn't big on extras and this DVD is more proof of that. First is your average promotional look at the work and while they talk about how they made the film, it still starts entering self-congratulatory chats. Some interesting deleted scenes are next and I agree with the filmmakers that they should have been deleted. The full musical clip showed in the film as well as some trailers for Ghost World and other MGM titles round up this uninteresting set. I don't why Zwigoff and Clowes couldn't have provided a nice commentary track about the film or an actual documentary, but since this film didn't do too well at the box office, I'm not surprised. This is a great film, but due to lack of worthwhile extras, I suggest just renting it.

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