ZERO STARS/**** Image A Sound A Extras C
starring Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Donal Logue, Dina Waters
screenplay by Peter Tolan and Leslie Dixon, based on the novel If Only It Were True by Marc Levy
directed by Mark Waters
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. I'm reminded of another magic-realist romantic comedy named after a song: Emile Ardolino's sweet, all-but-forgotten Chances Are, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the reincarnate of a man killed en route to meeting his sweetie Cybill Shepherd. He falls in love with Shepherd's daughter Mary Stuart Masterson, then falls back in love with Shepherd. This is a circuitous, distressingly disinteresting route towards expressing that Mark Waters's Just Like Heaven is not only a movie I really hate, but also a movie that's been done so many times before that instead of needing to follow along with the rigid requirements of the picture, you have time to comb the memory banks for obscure films that are better variations on this theme. (Stuff like Ghost, natch, but even relentlessly creepy garbage like Return to Me (also titled after a song) or Heart Condition or Always--or Truly, Madly, Deeply or The Bishop's Wife. Or the pinnacles of the ghost-love genre, Laura and Rebecca.) Just the fact that it turns The Cure's titular tune into a big sloppy glob of Lilith Fair saliva is enough to turn this child of the '80s right off, sure, but Just Like Heaven is also exactly the kind of piss that uses pop songs to narrate the action.