By Merle Bertrand | July 31, 2001

Ben Braddock (Richard Malphrus) is a big-time movie geek and aspiring screenwriter… except that everything he writes tends to sound like rip-offs of Woody Allen movies. When not pining over his ex-girlfriend Elaine (Ashleigh Prather), he’s carrying on one-sided conversations with the Orson Welles picture on his “Citizen Kane” poster. Suffice it to say, Ben is not exactly the poster boy for cinematic success.
Which is probably precisely the reason the notoriously bad filmmaker Ed Wood, Jr. (Scott Allen Perry) chooses to appear before Ben to launch his posthumous comeback. Wood, you see, had one more movie he’d wanted to make and he sees a kindred spirit in Ben. It’s a perfect partnership as both are hacks. One is a green and naive young man, the other a dead cynic, teaming up to write the script of a lifetime fueled by hooch and cheap Chinese food.
Director Mike Miley tries to mix up his reality with his fiction from time to time in “Ghost Writers” but these attempts mostly just sort of sit there. Instead, what makes this an oddly amusing film is Perry’s unabashedly campy and over the top turn as Wood. From his bleach blond wig, to his bulging Marty Feldman-lite eyes to his pink Angora sweater, Perry chews up the role like a Borscht-Belt comedian auditioning for the “Ed Sullivan Show.” Yeah, such vaudevillian ant!
ics irritate from time to time…but one just can’t help admire the guy’s guts for trying…or for wearing a pink sweater, for that matter.
“Ghost Writers” is a genial and goofy little film. Not quite as clever as Miley thinks it is, it’s nonetheless a cute and good-natured nod to an infamous legend. And it’s definitely better than anything the real Ed Wood ever came up with.

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