Widower Elliott Hopper is a neglectful single parent trying to raise three children while climbing the corporate ladder. Just three days away from closing a big real estate merger that will secure his family’s financial well-being, Elliott has the misfortune to drown when his taxi-cab plummets from a bridge.
Elliott emerges as a ghost, but a doting professor’s tinkering experiment with the supernatural snatches Elliott’s spirit on its way to heaven. Elliott is informed that due to a heavenly foul-up, which equates to their “losing his paperwork,” he has a few days left on Earth to live as a ghost.
By concentrating hard enough, Elliott finds that he can exert his influence over physical reality. Thus, he is able to communicate with his children and maintain life as if everything were, in his words, “perfectly normal.” Elliott decides to stick to his original plan concerning the business deal, but, since no one can see him when the lights are on, he has to rely on his children’s help, plus a variety of other devices to outwit his associates.
From this point, most of the movie resembles a not very funny television family sitcom, with Elliott trying to hold his family together while bringing the company deal to completion. However, whether he’s faking a medical exam, helping his grammar school-age son out with a magic trick, or transporting himself over phone lines to confront a pesky nuisance who’s bothering his rebellious teenage daughter, the jokes fall flat for television comedian star, Bill Cosby, who plays Elliott. He grimaces and contorts his face to the point where it no longer carries a humorous message.
Although Elliott closes the deal successfully, he ends up losing his job. The professor shows up with news that Elliott is not dead, but rather having an out-of-body experience. Elliott’s body is located in a coma at the hospital, his ghost climbs back into it, and all ends well.
The film’s premise that it’s never too late to get in touch with your children, even if it’s from the Great Beyond, is a warm-hearted idea, but one worked out in a way absolutely contrary to what God has revealed to us in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Furthermore, it reinforces the occultic and psychic hogwash which swept so many civilizations into the dustbin of history. We are commanded not to dabble in the occult, give ear to out-of-body experiences, or entertain ghost tales.
People do not go to live in heaven when they die apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ. Also, to say that “foul-ups” occur in heaven is to detract from the significance of having your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).
Your family will also want to pass on the film because of a few scatological situations involving crude bathroom humor, one semi-violent reference to Satan worship (albeit tongue-in-cheek), some instances of obscenity, and a bedroom scene which hints at promiscuity. Furthermore, most of the children at the screening found GHOST DAD unbearably boring.
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Two profanities and some obscenities; one promiscuous intimation; one tongue-in-cheek reference to Satan worship; allusions to ghosts, psychic phenomena and out-of-body experiences abhorrent to God; a few scatological situations with crude earthy humor; and, extortion