Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Nostalgia all Around
If you are a 90’s kid like me, you know Bill Cosby. Whether it was watching The Cosby Show on network television or Nick at Night, or experiencing his classic stand-up routines, he was and is a master at his craft. I had the honor of being in the audience for one of his later stand-up shows, and just being in his presence was awe inspiring (even if it was far away). He showed up in a few movies in his day, but nothing was more memorable, in my opinion, than his role as Elliot Hopper in Ghost Dad.
Elliot Hopper (Cosby) is a busy businessman that has been working on an important deal, and everything has been looking up. Everything changes, however, when he meets the cab driver from Hell. This Satanist cab driver ends up driving Elliot off of a bridge, killing him in the murky waters below. Well, wouldn’t you know, Hopper gets up and walks home, the only problem is that it appears that he is dead…a ghost that can only be seen in the dark. After concentrating, he gains the ability to talk and touch objects. He decides to continue work and attempt living as he normally would to support his kids until the following Thursday, when he is sure to “move on”.
This is barely even a ghost movie, in fact it more closely resembles a vampire movie. He does so well that his only apparent restriction…is operating in the daylight. However, he does it so well that even though he doesn’t seem like your typical ghost, he pulls it off the right way…and believable. If Bill Cosby were a ghost…this is just…how he would do ghost. It primarily focused on ghost humor, those special abilities he has that he never did when alive. Invisibility, flying, walking through walls, etc. Those abilities pretty much only apply when he is with his kids…that helps the humor move along quite nicely.
Normally, I would say a reason why you shouldn’t like this is because the main actor is such a predictable tyepcast; however, you will not find a single human being on the face of the Earth that will care that Bill Cosby is always Bill Cosby. People loved and still love the comedic icon that is Bill Cosby, and would jump at the chance to watch one of his films.Not many comedic actors achieve such a level of charisma that Cosby has, and often have to, or feel like they have to prove themselves through a more dramatic role. Cosby is just one of those actors that drama and purpose can seep out of his jokes when needed. Also, chemistry is a funny, almost magical element. I’m not talking about romantic chemistry, no…Just chemistry in general. His children in this film look absolutely nothing like Cosby, yet there could be white actors playing his kids and you would believe they were his children. Chemistry. Enough of Bill Cosby praise though, on with the review!
The only real negative thing I have to say about the movie is the strange and confusing plotline of this ghost trying to continue working his job, complaining about almost losing it…get a grip, dude, you’re dead! It doesn’t matter anymore! The only reason why he keeps trying to work seems to be because he cowered under his boss yelling at him…very confusing. I still have no idea why it’s even incorporated, other than again…humor purposes.
The moral of the story is there, but it is quiet. Other than about supporting family in general, he needed to use the time he had to obtain a life insurance policy, so when he is gone for good, his kids have a chance of surviving. That…made…sense. The only problem is that it is very drowned out and easy to overlook. Instead, more focus was on Elliot trying to keep his job. It seems to me that the focus should have been more flipped, there should have been more obstacles to get the life insurance, and there should have been more humorous scenes with the kids. That’s my take on it. Like I said, I liked how they did it, it was just a bit confusing given the direction.
The music in the movie has a lot of cheesy 90’s music, and where I would normally chuckle, I find myself loving it. If anyone played the cheesy soundtrack to this movie while my eyes were closed, I’d be able to pick it out in a heartbeat. Maybe all of this is biased from my history of seeing the movie on multiple occasions, but I’m okay with that.
Also, side note: You gotta hand it to the MPAA barely even existing back then. This is one of the many occasions old 90’s movies contained an instance of the word “Sh*%” and got away with a PG rating.
I’m happy to say I own the DVD to Ghost Dad, and I honestly think everyone should, even just to watch when there’s nothing else, or if they’re feeling down. It’s funny in that Bill Cosby kind of way. I think you’ll like it! Peace out.