Ghosts Can't Do It

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"Only her desire can make him rise again"
  • R
  • 1990
  • 2.1  (2,905)

Ghosts Can't Do It is a 1989 romantic fantasy comedy directed by John Derek, which might leave some viewers perplexed due to its unconventional premise and blend of genres. The movie stars Bo Derek, known for her breakout role in "10," her husband and director John, Anthony Quinn, and Don Murray. It interweaves elements of romance, comedy, fantasy, and even some drama into its narrative fabric.

The film pivots around the passionate and adventurous love life of Scott and Kate, played by Anthony Quinn and Bo Derek, respectively. Scott is an aging millionaire with an undying love for his much younger wife, Kate. Their age difference does not seem to affect their intense connection and indulgence in life's pleasures. Together, they revel in the luxuries of wealth, the thrills of big-game hunting, and the fulfillment of their romantic escapades in exotic locales around the world.

However, the tale takes a supernatural twist when Scott suffers a severe heart attack, which renders him unable to maintain the lifestyle that has defined him. As he grapples with his own mortality and the limitations it imposes on him and on his relationship with Kate, he decides that life isn't worth living if he can't live it on his terms. In a tragic turn of events, Scott takes his own life, leaving Kate in a state of deep mourning.

But death is not the end for Scott, who returns from the afterlife as a ghost. Although he yearns to be close to his beloved wife and partake in the physical world, he faces the ultimate frustration of his new spectral existence. As the title suggests, "Ghosts Can't Do It" and Scott finds himself powerless to interact with the real world in any tangible way. Kate, for her part, is grief-stricken and struggles to imagine her life without the man she has adored and with whom she has shared everything.

It's at this point that the movie really leans into its fantasy element. Even in death, Scott's longing and love for Kate drive him to find a way back to her, to reclaim the life and the passions they once shared. He constantly visits her from the other side, becoming an otherworldly companion she can converse with. He encourages her to continue living life to the fullest and to find happiness again despite his absence.

As part of his desire to be with Kate, Scott devises a near-mythical plan: he wants Kate to find a young, suitable body for him to inhabit. This involves a bizarre and controversial undertaking of seeking an agreeable young man ready to end his life so that Scott can replace him. Here the movie spins into a quest that bends the notions of morality, love, and death.

Throughout the film, there is an inevitable element of humor that arises from the interactions between Kate and the ghost of her late husband. Their witty banter and comedic situations serve as a counterbalance to the deeper themes of loss and grief that underpin the story. It's a mixture that may strike audience members differently, with some finding it charmingly offbeat, while others might see it as tastelessly executed.

Adding more complexity, Don Murray steps in as the antagonist, Winston, with a performance slated as a counterfoil to Scott's reminiscing spirit. Winston is a business adversary of Scott's, who is set on taking advantage of Scott's absence to take over his company and undermine the legacy he left behind. His character delivers a dose of corporate intrigue and greed, which complicates the widowed Kate's situation even more as she grapples with her spectral husband's outlandish requests.

The notion that love can transcend the physical barriers of existence, and the exploration of how far someone is willing to go to reunite with a lost love, are central themes in the movie. The premise, enticing in its own right, attempts to bridge the gap between fantastical elements and the more grounded aspects of a romantic drama.

Ghosts Can't Do It trades heavily on the allure of Bo Derek, with several scenes crafted to display her as a sex symbol of that era. Additionally, Anthony Quinn's performance as the impassioned and determined ghost is a testament to his longevity and versatility as an actor.

To say the least, the film has a divisive reception. It is one that could be appreciated for its ambition and the unique blend of its thematic elements or criticized for what some might perceive as its disjointed narrative and offbeat execution. As a piece of late '80s cinema, it is a montage of eccentric ideas that might intrigue viewers keen on exploring the oddities of film history.

Ghosts Can't Do It is a 1990 fantasy movie. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 2.1.

Ghosts Can't Do It
Where to Watch Ghosts Can't Do It
Ghosts Can't Do It is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, Fandor and MGM+. Some platforms allow you to rent Ghosts Can't Do It for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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    2.1  (2,905)