Zwigoff certainly has an eye for material that meshes with his distinctive sensibility. And a bleak sensibility it is. Enid ("American Beauty's" Thora Birch) and Becky ("The Horse Whisperer's" Scarlett Johansson) have just graduated from high school and look forward to dead-end jobs and a cheap apartment to share. Enid (the "not-pretty" one) is particularly adrift, until she runs into a misfit even more hopeless than herself--record collector Seymour (Buscemi). At first he's an object of mockery, but then Enid decides that Seymour's "so dorky he's kind of cool."
The whole cast is fantastic: From Birch and Buscemi down to small roles played by Illeana Douglas and Bob Balaban, there isn't a false note. Clowes and Zwigoff show an unerring ear for how young girls really talk and act. "Ghost World" manages to be grim and hilarious at the same time, not unlike love and adolescence and life itself. Misfits of all stripes (and who doesn't secretly feel like one?) will find that this film is spot-on. Starring Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi and Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Terry Zwigoff. Written by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff. Produced by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith. An MGM release. Drama. Rated R for strong language and some sexual content. Running time: 106 min