Ghost Dad
Universal // PG // $9.99 // March 1, 2005
Review by John Crichton | posted May 26, 2005
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Graphical Version
"Well, I guess Snow-Dad is better than no Dad."

Thirteen years after working together on A Piece Of the Action, Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier team up once again to assault the movie-going public with Ghost Dad. This mess of a film stars Bill Cosby as Elliot Hopper, a widower whose life is so busy, he records bedtime stories for his youngest daughter to play on a cassette recorder before going to bed. The film is slightly interesting at the beginning, with Bill wandering through a series of events that tease the viewer into wondering which could be the one that turns him into a ghost. But that's where the fun stops. The rest of the flick sees Bill bumbling and mugging as he attempts to complete a major business deal, get a physical for his life insurance policy, rebuff the advances of his attractive next-door neighbor, help his son become a better magician, keep his oldest daughter away from a deadbeat ignoramus and return to ghost expert Sir Edith Moser in three days before fading away!

I like Bill. I really, truly do. I was a faithful viewer of the Cosby Show every Thursday night, at least until the annoying Raven Symone joined the show (coincidently while this movie was being filmed) and Bill's responsible for Fat Albert,which is one of my favorite animated series. But there were a number of things in this movie that just plain weren't right (and i'm not talking about the whole "suspension of belief" aspect). From the "fatal" cab ride to the child "actors" who can't act, from Henry Mancini's score (did he lose a bet?) to Barry Corbin's strange pseudo-British accent; these things help make this movie stand out as one of the worst i've ever seen. I'm sure the filmmakers thought they were on their way to making a fun, heartwarming family film, but there's nothing here that resembles that. In fact, it almost seems as if the three[!] writers gave Bill a general outline of what should happen and let him fill out the rest with his "flim flam, hibbity flibbity" schtick.

I suppose this'll be one of those movies that some will say they "It might be awful, but I have fond memories of it." In fact, i've been known to say the very same thing. Thankfully, not in regards to this movie. I didn't like it now and, though i've been known to appreciate my fair share of cheese, i'm positive I wouldn't have liked it in 1990. By the way, the quote at the beginning is from the equally abominable 1998 movie Jack Frost. I have no idea why - perhaps as a mantra to keep my sanity - but it was the only thing on my mind as I was viewing this flick.

Video: Ghost Dad is presented in a full-frame 1.33:1 ratio. For the most part, the print is grainy with dull colors, a soft picture and at times, a fair amount of dirt, helping to make this movie look older than it really is. Also, the blacks aren't as deep as they should be. Which is a shame, since Bill can only be seen in dark lighting once he turns into a ghost. 

Audio: Ghost Dad is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. and there's really nothing remarkable about this track It faithfully reproduces a broadcast television aural experience.

Extras: Well, it comes in a DVD case. And there IS a cover, too. Other than that, there's nothing else.

So, what'd ya think?: Was this a painful movie to sit through? Yes, it was. Is it worth $10? Heck no, and that has nothing to do with the film. I concede that there might be one or two fans of this flick whose last name isn't Cosby, and for them, Universal should've released Ghost Dad in its OAR. About the film itself? My grandmother used to say "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". Unfortunately, I don't think my boss would've appreciated a blank review. Do yourself a favor and skip this flick. Check out Bill Cosby, Himself if you want to see Cos at his finest.



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