Plot: Elliot (Bill Cosby) is a widower with three children and a frantic business career, as well as hopes of providing a better life for his family. This means he spends a lot of time at work and not as much time with his children, with a goal of a big promotion and in turn, a big raise. Once he secures the promotion, he can settle down a little and start doing more with his kids. He is so close to the promotion, but one bad day threatens the entire balance of his life. After a stressful day at work, Elliot hops in a cab, unaware the driver has an obsession with the devil. He refuses to watch the road and grills Elliot about his ties to the dark side, which battles Elliot, but he tries to play along just to get out of the ride alive. But he doesn’t survive, at least not in the traditional sense, though he is a ghost now. Can Elliot use his paranormal powers to keep the business deal going and find a way to return to the world of the living?
Entertainment Value: Ghost Dad is a glorious trash fire of cinema, with a script that puts in no effort whatsoever to make sense on even minor levels, with one terrible scene after another. But this is no mere bad movie, as it does so much, so wrong, you can’t help but be entranced by the experience. Sidney Poitier somehow agreed to his mess and is in the director’s chair, but he shows none of his well documented skill. His direction here is aimless and lacks even moderate style, let alone that he let this script be filmed in the first place. Bill Cosby once again proves motion pictures are his kryptonite, floundering in a hilarious performance, though one that is riotous for all the wrong reasons. He has no signs of the wit that made him a television and stand up favorite, just an awkward, so bad it is hilarious turn. The real draw here is the script, which is so inconsistent and never tries to make sense. Cosby is in essence an all powerful entity at times, helpless at others, and no explanation is made as to the shifts in his ghostly abilities, it is just what happens to suit the script moment to moment. Plus we have some hilariously bad visual effects, which make 80s commercials look cutting edge, but add so much intentional humor to the experience. This is a total trainwreck, but if you appreciate epic misses in cinema, Ghost Dad is one to look into.
No nakedness. No blood. This movie might center on a dead man and his ghostly ways, but it is also a comedy aimed at family audiences. So the lack of sleaze and gore is never a concern in the least. The dialogue here is beyond ridiculous, with Cosby going on rants and mean spirited diatribes, balanced with goofy faces and limp attempts at heart felt sentiment. The language is a little more colorful and mean spirited than you might expect, with some outlandish moments popping up. Cosby’s cab ride takes a dark turn long before his eventual death, with a shouting match about Satan the powers of Hell, as the cab veers in and out of harm’s way. I also love the nonchalant reactions to Cosby’s condition, as well as the strange behavior of the oldest daughter, especially in the finale segments. In truth, I loved the dialogue in this one, it is so random, cruel, and stupid, I just couldn’t get enough. On the craziness scale, Ghost Dad racks up some points, thanks to the outrageous dialogue, Grand Canyon size script problems, and a general “what the hell happened here” vibe that permeates the entire movie. Just an offbeat, confusing, and wonderful experience.
Overall Insanity: 8/10