What do you get when you combine Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to take home an Oscar for Best Actor, Bill Cosby, pudding pop enthusiast, and finally Denise Nicholas, who brilliantly played Mrs. Victor More (uncredited) in Law & Order? Yep, you get Ghost Dad.
Before I recap the film for you gnomies, here’s some fun trivia (courtesy of IMDB):
– Kim Basinger reportedly turned down the role of Carol, because she claimed it “horrible”.
– Final leading role in a major motion picture for actor-comedian Billy Cosby.
– Final film directed by Sidney Poitier.
So not only did Vicky Vale, Batman’s girlfriend, hate the script, but this movie also killed two careers (pun possibly intended?).
Bill Cosby is some big business guy. He works with a bunch of old white guys. We’re told they have a big meeting with investors on Thursday that Cosby must conduct. When Cosby gets off work, he has to take a taxi. Sadly, his choice in Taxi drivers is at an all time low and he opts for a ride with a Charles Manson impersonator.
Manson drives like a maniac. It starts out comical at first. A wrong way here, and near collision there. Suddenly s@(% gets real and they plummet off a bridge.
And so Bill Cosby transforms from dad to GHOST DAD.
Cosby comes home to greet his family. Adding to the other frustrations of the day, Cosby can’t speak. So when his family sees him appear out of thin air, they are obviously baffled. So they try to get to the bottom of the situation the only way they know how. By playing charades.
That is their reaction upon figuring out that he is a ghost. It takes them a few seconds after this discovery to realize this is not a good thing. So either the kids are stupid or maybe Cosby just never got around to telling his children what death is. Either way, he is whisked away to London to interact with a British Guy.
The British Guy explains to Cosby, and the audience, that Cosby is dead and is now a ghost. Thanks a lot British Guy! You’re so smart with your wisdom and accent!
So the British Guy helps Cosby sync his body and voice (don’t ask) and warns that Cosby will disappear by Thursday. But wait, you say. Isn’t that the same day that Cosby has to attend that VERY important meeting? Because we all know that business meetings are important regardless if you are dead or not.
Side Note: The British Guy reappears later in the film. However, it’s never explained why/how he is able to pull Ghost Cosby to London. We’re told he’s a ghost expert. That is all. Also, he knows Bill Cosby’s character name for some reason. Hopefully all of this is explained in a future director’s cut.
Cosby is whisked away from the UK and back to his living room. His kids don’t ask him where he was. Nope, instead his oldest daughter asks about what she will do financially without him. His youngest son, clearly the most special of the bunch, thinks his dad would be great for his upcoming show and tell project. Hey kid, your dad died and is now a GHOST. Maybe give yourself a couple of minutes to take that in, okay?
So the rest of the film plays out this way. Ghost Dad NEEDS to attend this meeting. He didn’t leave behind any sort of life insurance plans and so, for whatever reason, this meeting will make everything right. However, “Various obstacles come his way with hysterical results!” – raves the writers of Ghost Dad.
Side Note (part 2): This film is WILDLY inconsistent. The idea is that Cosby is only visible when in dark areas. Throughout the film this changes and he’ll be standing right next to a lamp, but still be visible. Also he falls through floors, at least 4 times, but never once has problems sitting on furniture. Every time you see him standing by a light or interacting with something he shouldn’t be able to, take a drink. Although, I’m not responsible for what happens.
First, he has to make his office ghost-proof.
Once they are successful, Cosby becomes visible to his secretary. She asked why they are darkening the room.
Bill Cosby – “They are shutting out the sunlight.”
Secretary – “But you always loved the sunlight?”
Yeah. That exchange happened. So once this huge dilemna of flipping switches is solved, he is told he has to get a psychical. Uh oh!
I’m no stethoscope expert, but I don’t think this would work. Ever. Finally, the third trial, an impromptu meeting…AT HIS OWN HOME?
Apparently the flock of old white guys are trying to catch him in the act of “playing live.” Also, they show up without warning. So A. They didn’t even know he was home. and B. Kinda a dick move there fellows.
Luckily, British Guy shows up in the third act, as a sort of mercy killing for this film, to help fix everything. He informs the family that Ghost Dad ISN’T a ghost. No, he just jumped out of his body and is walking around as a spirit. Or something. So now begins the scavenger hunt for Cosby’s Body! But no, his stupid daughter goes and fu^#s it up.
aaaaaaaaand cut to the hospital where she is unresponsive.
As we all know, falling down a flight of stairs results in immediate coma. Did I say coma? I meant ghost!
Trying to create the Ghost Daughter sequel that no one wants, his daughter floats around the hospital. Cosby yells for her to get back to her body, but she is having TOO MUCH FUN!
Cosby starts to flicker, which means he’s about to die (ghost can die apparently). Luckily Ghost Daughter comes across his coma body (Comasby) in the adjacent room. He returns to his body, and she returns to her body and all is right in the world I guess.
So there you have it. Ghost Dad. Terrible, but I would highly recommend it if you’re a Cosby fan or a fan of ghosts. I now leave you with this scene from the movie (or possibly my nightmares).