Scott and Kate are happily married despite their notable age difference. After Scott suffers a heart attack that leaves him ravaged and unable to have sexual relations with Kate, he commits suicide and becomes a ghost that only Kate can see and speak with. To make it possible for Scott to return as a human, they conjure up a plan to have a young man die so that Scott can take his body.
This film contains examples of:
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Kate is at one point chased from the shower to a swimming pool by a hit man (Makes Just as Much Sense in Context), where she says that she will not let him rape her. When the man then makes it clear that he has no intention of raping her, but wants to kill her, she changes her tune, and actually starts negotiating with the hitman if he doesn't want to change his mind.
- As Himself: Donald Trump appears as himself, as apparently the Scotts were trying to strike a business deal with the real estate mogul.
- The Cameo: Besides Donald Trump As Himself, Julie Newmar appears as the ghost who helps Scott in the afterlife.
- Credits Gag: Donald Trump is credited in the closing credits as "And yes, that really was Donald Trump."
- Downer Beginning: The film begins with Scott having his heart attack.
- Driven to Suicide: Scott commits suicide after his heart attack leaves him unable to have sex with Kate.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Scott's heart attack is just one overdramatic chest-clutching away from doing every gesture associated with one.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The film's title is displayed as "Ghosts Can't Do It, by John Derek". It's not uncommon for a film's title to be displayed this way in a poster, but less so for the film itself to do it!
- MayDecember Romance: Scott is stated to be 30 years older than Kate (Anthony Quinn was actually 40 years older than Bo Derek); assuming that Kate was around 30 (Derek was 32 during filming), Scott was 60 or older. Even before his death it was obviously an issue, with Scott not being able to keep to the pace with the more youthful Kate.
- Meaningful Name: The guy Kate wants for Scott to possess is named Fausto - not a deal with the devil, but the underworld/afterlife connection is still there.
- Ms. Fanservice: Kate. She's Bo Derek in a movie directed by her husband, so of course she's frequently naked. Albeit as Razzies founder John Wilson noted in his book, in one scene it's not so pretty, as she sits on the beach after stripping, covering her nether regions with sand.
- Our Angels Are Different: According to this movie, angels may look like Julie Newmar, and they wear butterfly-shaped decorative items on their hands.
- Spirit Advisor: Scott can communicate with Kate after his death, appearing in some kind of water reflection.
- Title Drop: "You're a ghost, Scott. And ghosts can't do it, that's simple."