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Film / Ghost Dad

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Ghost Dad is a 1990 fantasy-comedy movie directed by Sidney Poitier and starring Bill Cosby.

Elliot Hopper (Cosby) is a middle-aged widower with three children. After an incident with an insane taxicab driver, it is apparent that he is dead and now a ghost who can only be seen in darkness. Realizing that he has not arranged for life insurance for his three children, he attempts to return to work to close a merger with his company so that the money could provide for them. Hilarity Ensues.

The movie contains examples of:

  • Berserk Button: Edith really doesn't respond well when someone points out that his name is a girl's name.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Amanda leaving her skates on the stairs. Elliot almost trips on them but Diane later does.
  • Dead All Along: Inverted. It turns out that Elliot actually survived the taxi crash and is in a coma in the hospital. The "ghost" that we've been following is actually an astral projection that Elliot has been projecting from his hospital bed.
  • Deranged Taxi Driver: Elliot makes the epic mistake of catching a ride with Satanist taxi driver Curtis Burch, who drives erratically and screams about obeying his "Dark Master" (Elliot pretends to be Satan and commands him to stop, causing Burch to drive the cab into a river). When he runs into Burch again at the end, Elliot orders him to go straight to hell and Burch ecstatically drives off.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tony Ricker calling Diane a "bitch" while he's talking to her father on the phone.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Satanist cab driver Curtis Burch takes him on a wild ride, often not even looking at the road.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Edith is not a boy's name. It is the name of an elderly Englishman who was named after his grandmother.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The taxi driver Curtis Burch demands that Elliot "accept the Lord Satan as the Supreme Being," something that a real-life Satanist would probably never do. Then again, he's batshit insane, which is a weak justification.
  • Insistent Terminology: Edith insists that the male version of his Gender-Blender Name is pronounced "Ed-Ith".
  • Intangibility: One of the powers a ghost gains.
  • Jerkass: Tony Ricker. He outright tells the father of the woman he wants to date to "Put the bitch on."
  • Karma Houdini: Collins faces no kind of comeuppance or punishment for firing Elliot after having him work so hard for him for years—heck, Elliot doesn't even enact any kind of divine retribution on him for it either.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
  • Papa Wolf: After hearing his daughter's boyfriend tell him rudely to put his daughter on the phone, Elliot goes through the phone to choke him and tells him to never talk to, look at, or think of her ever again.
  • Reaching Between the Lines: Eliot literally does this when Tony calls his daughter a bitch.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the film, Eliot is more concerned about getting a business deal than trying to work out the circumstances surrounding his own death. This is somewhat justified, as he hopes this will get him life insurance so that once he fades away his kids will be financially secured.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Elliot and the scientist do this when arguing over if Edith, the name of the scientist, is a girl's name.
  • The Taxi: Elliot takes one, but it turns out to be driven by a crazy Satanist named Curtis Burch.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The insane taxi cab driver Curtis Burch, despite being in the same taxi that fell off a bridge, turns up alive and driving another taxi at the end of the film.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Collins cares nothing about all the years Elliot devoted to the company, fires him because he's not there to make sure the deal goes through and even worse, faces no kind of consequence or retaliation from Elliot because of it either.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Elliot is a workaholic. Ironically, this is because he wants to provide for his children, but his long hours make him neglectful.


Video Example(s):


The Workaholic Dad

Some Jerk, Horror Guru and Jackula spend a good two minutes ranting about this trope, how annoying it is and how overplayed it got. Especially during the 90s.

How well does it match the trope?

4.11 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhenYouComingHomeDad

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