Ghost Dad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ghost Dad
Ghost Dad Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Sidney Poitier
Produced by Terrence Nelson
Written by Brent Maddock
S. S. Wilson
Chris Reese
Starring Bill Cosby
Kimberly Russell
Salim Grant
Denise Nicholas
Ian Bannen
Christine Ebersole
Barry Corbin
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo
Edited by Pembroke J. Herring
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • June 29, 1990 (1990-06-29)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $25,421,633

Ghost Dad is a 1990 American fantasy comedy film directed by Sidney Poitier and starring Bill Cosby, in which a widower's spirit is able to communicate with his children after his death. It was critically panned, and wound up on many critics' "worst of 1990" and "worst of all time" lists. To date, the film remains Sidney Poitier's last directorial effort.

Plot[edit]

Elliot Hopper (Bill Cosby) is a workaholic widower who is about to land the deal of a lifetime at work, which he hopes will win him a promotion and a company car. After he forgets his daughter Diane's birthday, he attempts to make it up to her by promising her she can have his car when he secures the deal at work on the coming Thursday. After being persuaded to give the car to his daughter early, Elliot must hail a taxi from work, which is driven by Satanist Curtis Burch (Raynor Scheine), who drives erratically and speeds out of control. Attempting to get the taxi stopped, Elliot announces that he is Satan and commands him to stop the taxi. Shocked to see his "Evil Master", Burch drives off a bridge and into the river.

Elliot emerges from the accident scene, but when he approaches a police officer, he learns that he is a ghost when the officer urinates on his shoes, then when he walks into the road, a speeding bus goes straight through him and he endures an old lady on the back seat chomping into a sandwich with her legs far apart coming closer towards him. When he gets home he discovers that his 3 children can see him, but only in a totally dark room, and they can't hear him. He struggles to tell them what happened when he is whisked away to London by paranormal researcher Sir Edith (Ian Bannen), who tells him he is a ghost who has yet to enter the afterlife because "they screwed up"; his soul will not cross over until Thursday.

The pressures of work and family life lead to many comedic events, such as Elliot rubbing meat tenderizer into his face while screaming about the burning in his eyes, as Elliot attempts to get a life insurance policy and complete his company's merger, so his family will be provided for once he crosses over. One day, he must choose between staying in an important work meeting and helping his son with a magic trick at school. He eventually decides that his family's happiness is more important and walks out on his furious boss, Mr. Collins (Barry Corbin), who later fires him.

Dejected, Elliot reveals himself as a ghost to his love interest, Joan (Denise Nicholas), whose initial shock soon turns to sympathy. Edith arrives from London to announce that Elliot is not dead; his spirit jumped out of his body in fright. In the excitement to find Elliot's body to reunite his spirit with it, Diane trips on a pair of skates that her little sister Amanda left on the stairs; she falls and is seriously injured. The family rush her to the hospital where her spirit has also jumped out of her body. As she delightedly flies around, Elliot begs her to re-enter her body; his own has started to "flicker". When he collapses, Diane becomes concerned and races into the intensive-care unit to find her father's body. She helps him into the room and they discover that the taxi driver had taken his wallet before the accident, so he has no identification. Elliot returns to his body and wakes up; Diane does the same and jumps off the operating table to tell the family what has happened.

As the reunited family leave the hospital, Elliot spots a yellow taxi parked outside and Burch behind the wheel. Delighted to see his "Evil Master", Burch returns Elliot's imitation Gucci wallet back. Elliot then tells Burch to go to hell and sit on red hot coals waiting for him "until it snows". Curtis agrees enthusiastically and drives off while Elliot, Joan, Edith and the family leave the hospital.

Cast[edit]

Novelization[edit]

Ghost Dad
Author Mel Cebulash
Country United States
Language English
Genre Comedy
Publisher Berkley; Mv Tie in edition
Publication date
July 1, 1990
Media type Print (Paperback)
ISBN 978-0-425-12453-6
OCLC 21994170

As part of the publicity for the movie, a Ghost Dad novelization written by Mel Cebulash was released the year of the film's debut.

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received widespread negative reviews, with a 7% rating on film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews. The consensus states: "A startlingly misconceived effort from director Sidney Poitier and star Bill Cosby, Ghost Dad is a listless, glacially-paced comedy that's alternately schmaltzy and incomprehensible."[1]

Rating the movie half a star out of four, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert characterized the film thus:

Ghost Dad is a desperately unfunny film - a strained, contrived construction that left me shaking my head in amazement… How could Sidney Poitier, a skilled filmmaker with an actor's sense of timing, have been the director of this mess? How did a production executive go for it? Who ever thought this was a good idea?[2]

Box office[edit]

In the film's opening weekend, it earned $4,803,480. Domestically the film earned $24,707,633 and $714,000 at the foreign box office for a total of $25,421,633.[3]

VHS and DVD release[edit]

Ghost Dad was released on VHS by Universal Studios on December 6, 1990. The film was released on DVD by Good Times Video on May 1, 2001, and as a "Studio Selections" DVD by Universal Studios on March 1, 2005.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]