Ghost Dad (1990) Poster

(1990)

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The HOLY GRAIL of Supernatural Comedies
Meifumado23 January 2002
After the colossal artistic and commercial triumph of Leonard: Part 6, "The Cos" decided to make his next film a more organic, "Art-House" picture and proves once again that he has the cinematic midas touch. In a premise that might seem silly in other hands, Cosby and director Sidney Portier deftly weave a tightly knit tapestry of familial melodrama and undead hijinks. The lush cinematography lends a documentary feel to the proceedings, a much needed dose of gritty reality which helps immeasurably when dealing with the afterlife. Cosby's bravura performance is both ferocious and demure in equal measure, but always REAL. Also, the underlying message of fatherly responsibility seems remarkably apt in these times of the "Baby Boy" syndrome. An often overlooked masterpiece in the Cosby canon, Ghost Dad is without a doubt a labour of love from one of the cinemas greatest pioneers.
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10/10
The Cos' finest hour.
sideburnsandbarley16 September 2003
If you haven't seen this movie see it. Bill Cosby unsuccessfully tries to balance work and family, when he suddenly dies in a horrible car crash. He is then whisked away to HELL, AKA London, England, where a man named Edith trains him in being a ghost. Now Cosby must raise his kids as a Ghost Dad. The movie is insane. Cosby flies through walls, Pops out of a phone to strangle his daughter's boyfriend, declares himself Satan, and goes to his female neighbor's house for a little "afternoon delight". I've seen it 40 times. Why wasn't this masterpiece mentioned when director Poitier received the lifetime achievement award. "Edith is a Girl's Name!"
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2/10
Face-pulling pointlessness with Bill Cosby
Ian-1004 May 1999
If one were to hear of a movie concerning the antics of a dead Bill Cosby trying to help his children, the cineast in you would not be stirred to see/rent it. However, I still managed to be unpleasantly surprised by the gall of this movie. Each turn around the seemingly aimless plot reveals fresh idiocy. Every moment of Cosby's acting seems an excuse for a new stupid face to pull, though even these become horrendous. One is left with an over-riding feeling of disbelief, after having been asked to suspend exactly that from new levels for the duration of the picture. I suppose really odd Dana Ashcroft fanatics may wish to see this. But this movie is for children. Stupid children.
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This movie is great.
morrowman213 May 2004
I don't care what anyone else has said this is a great movie. I have seen this movie several times and Bill Cosby is funny, A single dad trying to raise 3 children until he has his accident and becomes a ghost. The adventures that Cosby goes through in this movie while he is a ghost are interesting. It is a great film for children of all ages. So, see this movie if you haven't already and I think you will be very surprised at the adventures of Cosby and the other Characters in this film.
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8/10
Enjoyable Family Movie
ndgrad715 July 2007
Okay, yes it has an implausible plot and the story line is totally cheesy. Having said that, however,it's also a very cute movie with a nice lesson in it. I've noticed that some of the other reviewers seem disappointed that this movie isn't an intellectual marvel. It's not meant to be. Sometimes movies are just supposed to be entertaining without having to be analyzed. This is one of those movies. Bill Cosby is as usual a comedic genius. I never get tired of watching him because he plays the father role very well. The supporting child actors are cute, most especially the youngest daughter. This movie is a good one for family viewing. I suggest you at least rent it, pop some popcorn, and sit with the family and enjoy it.
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Ghost Dad, the movie you live to watch, and watch to live!
the27weirdal16 June 2004
Ghost Dad is one of those movies that has that sort of corney cheesy feel to it, but is very entertaining and fun. I remember watching this as a kid on TV and the one part that always stuck in my mind was when Elliot (Cosby) is done getting his life insurance physical, and he's walking down the hall and his face and hands are gone, and his sun glasses and hat are floating above is body. That's always been my favorite part in the movie, just because it had freaked me out as a little kid. Well, over 10 years passed, and I finally saw the movie again. Needless to say, that part looked a lot different than I remember it. The part where he goes 'through' the bus, and when he falls though the floor are other parts that I remember pretty well too. Anyway, I definitely recommend this movie. The only part I can see a problem with around younger kids is when he comes through the phone, and chokes the guy, and used the 'b' word a couple times.

Buy it, rent it, or watch it on TV. Either way, you'll like it!
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6/10
Not Bad!
mnethersole20 March 2014
OK so let's be honest here "Ghost Dad" is not any place near to being a great movie or the best movie you will ever watch. But at the same time it is also not what so many people say it is which is a horrible movie or even "the worst movie of all time"... for one thing it is Bill Cosby back in his time as one of the best comedians and entertainers, in his prime. So that alone means that there is going to be some really funny entertainment value in this movie. The movie can be a little darker than most things you would expect out of Bill Cosby but in a way that made it a little more special. I don't want to give away too much of the story for you people but near the beginning Cosby is in a horrible car accident with a crazy devil-worshipping cab driver and comes back as a ghost, trying to get back to his family and learning what's really important in his life.
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8/10
Corny (in retrospect) but fun family fun.
Suaihmnis5 March 2010
I watched it as a child with my brother. It was corny but hell it was fun! I loved Bill Cosby in this role and the premise of the whole movie was, while a bit of a stretch, quite fun in itself. Here you have a hard-working dad and his children..what happens of the dad suddenly "leaves his body", while nit exactly being dead? A comedy ensues as all of them struggle to adjust to the dad's new predicament, doing all sort of weird stuff.

There is also the memorable taxi driver from hell. I was never quite able to forget him. This was a good family movie and both me and my brother had a lot of fun.

It was silly, it was goofy, it was cheesy, but it was warm and lively and entertaining. A lot more credit should be given to this movie. For me, it will always remind me of the days when me and my brother watched things together. Good times.

You might be put off by the goofiness and corniness of it but for me it is an 8/10. Good 'ole Bill Cosby.
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A Great Movie
mikec-1925 November 2000
I happened to really like this film. Bill Cosby did a good job acting (as always). And the other supporting actors/actresses also did quite well. I really got into the movie and felt for the characters. I was also quite happy with the ending. I felt it was well-deserved. So, if you want to see a movie that has heart and will make you feel good about life, rent "Ghost Dad" (or you can catch it on tv every once in a while).
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8/10
Edith is a boy's name!
ElijahCSkuggs12 June 2008
Bill Cosby gets lots of flack. His one of a kind humor and his unique personality are lightning rods for people to make fun of him. I've personally always dug his style and decided to re-watch Ghost Dad, one of the most commonly used titles for talking about silly stupid flicks. And I'll tell you what, I'll take ghost flicks like Ghost Dad any day over any of these crappy, cheap-scare infested, long-haired, pale-faced, school-girl Asian ghost flicks. I know Ghost Dad ain't horror, but still, those movies tend to suck.

Ghost Dad revolves around Bill being accidentally killed, but still being able to use his new-found ghost body/abilities to continue to help, more or less, his family and himself with their daily struggles. Through trying to save his job, help his son with magic tricks and even taking out the garbage, there are plenty of fun lil gags that will entertain the movie-goer who still possesses that lil kid inside of them.

With classic Cosby facial expressions, sound effects and jokes, it's really just a hoot for any fan of the Pudding Man. But if you're not a fan of Cosby, you may not find it as entertaining as someone like myself. Though it's undeniably charming and has a lot more heart and originality than most films out there. Ghost Dad was a cool lil flick that was consistently entertaining and had a surprisingly high amount of heart, though with Sidney Poitier directing that's not truly that surprising. Viva la Ghost Dad!
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Strong candidate for bottom 100 list
Altaira28 June 1999
This movie is probably the worst I have ever seen, and I saw both of the Problem Child disasters. Bill Cosby, a normally competent TV actor fails here as does the rest of the cast--most of whom have a serious lack of acting skills (especially the daughter in the hospital scenes.) The writing is childish, nose-wrinklingly weak and so boring I found myself wondering who put up the money to actually produce this monstrosity. The end, which is supposed to be touching, is the only enjoyable part because the credits are soon to roll. Personally, I'd be embarrassed to have my name appear in connection to this cinematic mistake.
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9/10
Post-Dad
peterpants6618 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
YES! Basically this is a ninety minute episode of the explosive family comedy/drama "The Cosby show". I remember this movie coming out, the ad with wild bill ghosting through a bus, and making his face disappear. The faces, the dancing, Cosby delivers on all accounts, he's a real prankster. It took me about a week to watch this whole thing cause i kept putting it on so late at night. The time this came out Cosby's family show was hotter then hell, and as this movie will prove even Death can't keep a good dad down. He does his best after a horrifying accident to take care of his kids and get some kind of life insurance, the results are hilarious. He spooks a nosy, nerdy neighbor, he ghosts through a phone to strangle a young thug and helps his son perform a magic trick only a janitor could successfully get out of. So plenty happens here, and this is another one that got ton's of negative criticism when it came out, but nothing can slow down Bill Cosby, nothing. The man appears ageless and basically looks the same now as he did twenty years ago. In fact he looks the same now as he did in the early eighties. There's a nasty rumor going around Hollywood that he drinks the blood of young runaways, still another says he's an alien, and another one even suggests he's been dead for years and cloned by the Illuminati, kept in rotation to keep Kodak and Jello going and going. And yes there's a scene in this movie where a stuffy brit named EDITH, indulges in the cantankerous, wise cracking, ghostly jello slime. What can i say, i laughed, i cried, i orgasm'd twice! Check this out and don't forget the jello puddin. Nine stars, hooo ahhh!
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Best and Greatest
SemiDtachd1 August 2002
This movie is far and away the BEST and GREATEST movie ever made. I may not know all that there is to know about cinematic technique. I hold no degree in Film or Photography. I have not studied writing, acting or directing, nor have I watched many so called "classic" films. However, I still feel that I am qualified to say that Ghost Dad is the pinnacle of achievement in the realm of motion pictures. Bill Cosby is a genius, and offers a finely tuned performance which recalls the "ghost" of all of his viewers' "dads." Wonderfully cast, superbly directed, touchingly photographed, and ably written, this film will no doubt stand the test of time to supplant "Citizen Kane" at the top of the cinematic hierarchy.
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6/10
Family Formula
refinedsugar14 March 2001
Bill Cosby. He's been around so long... is there a person in the world today that doesn't like/respect/acknowledge him? So naturally Bill (like a lot of celebrities) has a very shielded career. He knows his territory and plays to it. It seems very unlikely you'll ever see Bill in anything less than good old fashioned family friendly programming. That's his territory. Bill will always be Bill.

So unsurprisingly Ghost Dad breaks no new grounds for Bill Cosby or that haven't been tread before in other similar entries. It's what it was meant to be - a harmless film for the whole family. It's been made to offend no one. If you didn't know by the title - well let me spill the paint bucket for you. Bill Cosby is the caring husband and father trying to keep his daughters content and maintain the family's happy existence. So what a cramp it put's in his style when - oops, he's dead. Hence, Ghost Dad.

So being the good father he is - his protective side takes over as he tries to protect his daughters from the woes of life - all the while trying to 'stay alive'. He can be seen with minimal light you see. Which leads to a bunch of silly scenes some reminiscent of "The Invisible Man". Cosby is fun and though the movie is predictable it shouldn't hurt you to take in a viewing. It might not be the best offering of home family entertainment, but in a field so large you could do worse.
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4/10
Comedy of errors
ENDING-MAN16 June 2006
This is a fun family movie, but the plot isn't solid. This movie left me with a lot of questions. What was up with the cab driver and who does he think he is? Why did Stuart threaten his best friend's father? That's pretty bold of him to do that. Why at one point, could Elliot talk weird in one part and talk normal in another? Also when the company comes over to visit, it's day time, and some minutes later, when Stuart calls, Elliot went to his house and the sun was already down long ago. That reminds me, if Stuart threatened me like that, he would have his bratty self have the police called on. And, not all was resolved in the end. Elliot lost his job, Danny lost a friend of his, and Diane lost a potential boyfriend. Still, nevertheless, Elliot's extremist and eccentric behavior was definitely funny. Though plagued by errors, this makes for a good family film and is better than Home Alone 4.
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5/10
It's anything but haunting here
tdrish20 January 2020
Ghost Dad is designed to be a comedy. Myself, I thought it was sad. He almost dies in an elevator accident, then he finds himself suspended in mid air over a bridge of water, hanging on by his car door. The man has kids! He's the only provider for them. Who is going to look after them when he becomes...ghost dad? Ghost Dad has a few funny moments, but there's something here in the mix that doesn't work. At first, the kids think its funny when they can see him in the dark, but not in the light, so they keep turning the lights on and off, and he keeps disappearing and reappearing. When the kids finally accept him as ghost dad, the movie completely falls apart. I mean, literally. The film does not know where to go from there, and instead, its just a parade of filler. Watch as he comically chokes the boyfriend through the phone when he calls her a name that rhymes with "Witch". It tries to play off as a family comedy, but it just doesn't have any story or material to go by once he dies. There lies the problem. As a comedy, as I said, it has a few laughs. Bill Cosby is great as ghost dad, the kids are likable...its just too bad the movie isn't likable. But watchable. I'm giving Ghost Dad 5 out of 10 stars. Anything but haunting here.
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1/10
Oh HELL NAW!!
mimiybyazphil17 January 2020
Even Stevie Wonder can SEE what a HOT MESS this movie is!! There are NO words, ok there are but I am a LADY!!
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3/10
For a film called Ghost Dad, this was pretty hallow
zakso99911 February 2012
Well, Bill Cosby's career was going downhill in the 90's. The Simpsons championed The Cosby Show and it looked like Bill Cosby was washed up, and this film proves it. Surely after Leonard Part 6, Cosby would've learned from his mistakes and stayed away from starring, writing, or directing movies. Where do I start? Bill Cosby just can't act. I am sorry Cosby fans but the man CAN'T ACT. The reason he could play Dr. Huxtable on the Cosby show is because that role was based on him. With Ghost Dad, it's completely different. Also, does it surprise you that it took 5 WRITERS to make this film. I mean, GODDAMN! 5 WRITERS! Even with 5 writers, the writing is sloppy. I would also like to point out the horrendous Cinematography/Directing, it is almost as bad as Jingle All the Way. What about the humor? You have your expected Spectral puns and dumb jokes for the WHOLE family. Finally, the story/premise. Basically, it is a cross between Ghost and Full House.

Bottom Line: It is not as bad as Leonard Part 6, but stay away from this movie.
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3/10
The sixty-second worst thing Cosby ever did
ericstevenson18 July 2017
Right off the bat, I'm admitting that I was never really into Bill Cosby. He just seemed kind of boring and didn't have much identity. I was at least familiar with his awful movie record. Nowadays, everybody wants to distant themselves from him, but I'm not going to judge the movie based on that. I'm just going to treat it like a movie. This film features Bill Cosby apparently becoming a ghost. This movie is just really dumb with the rules it has about the afterlife. It's said that people can see Cosby's clothes but not his face but we clearly see him with clothes on in one scene and nobody notices him!

Also, this one guy says he's an authority on the afterlife and has even written a book. Wait, if there's a book written about ghosts, why can't they just tell everyone that he's a ghost? Ghosts have already been said to exist in this world. Better yet, just tell people you're a ghost and get rich and famous proving ghosts exist! This film is very mean spirited with Cosby running into a crazy Satanist who then convinces him that he's Satan. He later chokes a kid through the phone and threatens a little boy. I really do hate it when people make ugly, hateful films for children. *1/2
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2/10
Read it it's last rites...
wrightiswright29 July 2015
Leaving aside Bill Cosby's recent run-ins the with the law, I must say I've never found him the least bit amusing. Maybe it's an American 'thing' mixing slapstick, sentimentality and someone talking like they have a mouth full of toilet paper. Who knows... But for whatever reason, he was the highest actor on American TV for years, and was one of the first true black superstars of the media age. You may wonder why these impressive credentials didn't help him develop a more lucrative movie career... Until you sit through something as terrible as 'Ghost Dad', of course.

Dear oh dear, what WERE his agent and him thinking when they flicked through THIS script and decided it would be worth making? Having already starred in a string of flops at the cinema, Cosby NEEDED this, as a last throw of the dice, to be a hit. Needless to say... He came up snake eyes, and he never did have the popularity on the big screen he enjoyed on the far smaller one. Not a great loss, in my view.

To start with, his character in the movie is HORRIBLE. He spends all his time at work (to the extent where he reads bedtime stories for his youngest on cassette, forgets all their birthdays and can't even remember each child's name...) so we instantly hate him off the bat. When he DOES join the regions of the undead, the director seems to make up the rules for if he can be seen in daylight, whether he can touch solid objects or not and what kind of powers he has as a spook as he goes along. There is NO consistency here... Aside from the dreadful attempts at comedy and the non-performances from all involved.

And just when you think things couldn't get ANY worse... It pulls out the most pathetic deus ex machina of an ending you'll EVER likely see. How the screenwriter scribbled this crap down with a straight face I'll never know. At least he probably laughed more than the poor, poor audience. This is truly a film as dead on arrival as it's protagonist... The difference no-one would try to bring it back from the afterlife. 2/10
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1/10
Grown to hate the movie.
ResidentEvil2Fan9 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I used to enjoy this movie a lot because I enjoyed Bill Cosby, the doctor who helps out Bill Cosby's character, and the satanic cab driver Curtis Burch. The doctor was funny because he was a little kooky and the cab driver was funny because he was so weird and the music they chose for his theme was a good piece. The way he caused the cab to fall over because he reached over to grab Bill Cosby's character's wallet. This film used to have a certain aura that made it corny, but a great movie to watch if you were bored and needed something to pass the time and get you ready to go to bed. But I have just grown to hate this movie because it was so weak in its plot. But the biggest reason why is because the man I grew up idolizing and admiring for years was not the man I thought he was.
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5/10
not worth criticizing too harshly
mjneu5922 November 2010
Bill Cosby hasn't had much luck in his movie career, which may explain this (not unsuccessful) attempt to carry his familiar middle-class-family-man TV image over to the big screen. In the film he plays a single, somewhat neglectful father of three children who learns a few belated lessons in parenthood after a fatal taxi ride turns him into a reluctant ghost. Of course he can only be seen in darkened rooms, which leads to a lot of ectoplasmic slapstick and some predictable puns ("…over my dead body!") The film is strictly sit-com material, but at the same time is too undemanding to warrant any real criticism, and under Sidney Poitier's slick, superficial direction it moves quickly to a happy ending, with the help of a few clever (if economical) special effects. It might, however, have an unexpected side effect on a younger audience: having a dead dad is made to seem such fun that some kids might begin to want one themselves.
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3/10
Sidney Poitier actually directed this
BandSAboutMovies3 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When I was young, I was too sure of my pop culture loves to ever find love. Or maybe I was just doing things the right way, because my life turned out great. I claimed I'd never be with someone who listened to modern country or pop punk or who would dare to like a movie as inept as Ghost Dad. I'm happy to report that I'm happily married to someone who checks off all of the above.

Sidney Poitier is an American treasure. This is the film that makes you question that status.

Elliot Hopper (Bill Cosby) is a workaholic widower who cares more about work than his family, forgetting his daughter Diane's (Kimberly Russell, TV's Head of the Class) birthday in his dogged pursuit of a promotion and company car. To make it up to her, he gives her his car, leading to him riding in a taxi driven by Curtis Burch, a Satanist who drives the car off a bridge into the water, killing Elliot - yes, this is a comedy - and sending his ghost back to his family.

Luckily, his three children can see him when it's totally dark. He's then pulled away to London by Sir Edith (Ian Bannen, who died in a car accident in real life), a paranormal researcher who tells him that the powers that be screwed up and he has until Thursday to save his mortal body. Hijinks ensue, with Elliot doing magic tricks with his son Danny, quitting his job and falling in love with Joan (Denise Nicholas, TV's In the Heat of the Night).

There's also the not so comedic moment of Diane slipping on roller skates that little sister Amanda left on the steps and breaking her neck. This being a family comedy, everything works out.

The writers of this film were obsessed with ghosts. Phil Alden Robinson (here under the pseudonym Chris Reese) wrote and directed Field of Dreams the year before, while S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock would go on to direct another movie that my wife loves, Heart and Souls.

It's kind of hard to watch anything with Bill Cosby in it after the revelations of the last few years. At least this isn't Leonard Part 6.
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8/10
Enjoyable Dramedy on the Afterlife
Snowgo31 May 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was ingenious how they combined the screen writing with the special effects to allow the "live" people" to interact with Bill Cosby (as Elliot Hopper) in his "between" state: They could hear him, but only see him if the lights were turned down low. I found this genuinely interesting, because a low-light situation is one of the best conditions for seeing the human aura. What I liked maybe most about Ghost Dad was the pacing, which was flawless; not a single wasted or empty moment in the movie. Always there was good dialogue. Regardless of what some reviewers have to say, I did not find the movie "corny" at all. It was a perfect combination of sober and hopeful.

The ending was beautiful, as Elliot's daughter, Diane (played by Kimberly Russel), has her own near death experience and he has to convince her to go back to her body. The ending is a very happy one, but I will not spoil it for you.

Note: Historically, I have been very critical of movies that force us to suspend our disbelief through plots that just don't work (particularly with "invisible" people). Ghost Dad is very believable, and Cosby (and the movie) never lose focus or waste time on goofy gags or cheap dialogue. Very well done, indeed.
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5/10
Family comedy that doesn't go anywhere
erwan_ticheler11 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS

Sidney Poitier was a big star in the sixties and played in some really important and good movies of that time like "In the Heat of the Night" and "The Defiant Ones".

"Ghost Dad" is to date his last direction and it is clear why.This movie is as empty as the head of George W. Bush.It can be forgiven because it is a fantasy comedy made for all ages but even then it isn't any good.Bill Cosby tries hard to save it but he doesn't manage.

Both Cosby and Poitier were important black persons in showbizz in their time,Poitier in the sixties and Cosby in the 80's with his legendary sitcom "The Cosby Show" about a "white" black family.

All these political and social problems are thrown overboard in this film and that's a shame cause both Cosby and Poitier are highly respected in Hollywood,maybe they could make a difference.

Anyway about the film there's not much to say except that it is your typical fantasy story about a neglecting dad who comes to his senses as the movie goes on and of course it all ends well.Pretty mediocre entertainment when you expect nothing and when you don't want to think during the picture,otherwise:don't watch it. 5/10
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