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USA 1990
Directed by
Jerry Zucker
129 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars


That Ghost, an excruciatingly cheesy supernatural romance cum comedy thriller was the biggest box office success of 1990 only goes to show how much guff the mainstream will swallow.

Sam and Molly (Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore), he a financial manager and she an artist live in a designer-converted loft apartment in Manhattan. Walking home from the theatre one night (they’ve been to see ‘Macbeth’!!) they are attacked by a mugger.  Sam is killed but his spirit survives to protect Molly from a friend (or at least so they thought) and business colleague (Tony Goldwyn) who is laundering drug money through the business.

The best news about Jerry Zucker’s film is that is wasn’t made a few years earlier so the eye-gouging ugliness that marked the ‘80s  is at least on the wane. Despite that there is plenty of squirm-inducing directorial misjudgment, notably a protracted love-making scene involving mutual stroking of a phallic  objet d’art and an overall superficiality of writing that does not even bother to attempt credibility.

It is hard to see what the appeal of the film was (and is, given that it still has its fans though probably not as many as that other surprise mega-hit of the same year, Pretty Woman. Maybe the genre conflation gave it multi-demographic appeal (though one could easily argue the reverse), presumably the mawkish beyond-death romance (helped out by a couple of servings of ‘Unchained Melody’), not to mention that sex scene (although Swayze not Moore is the film's primary sex object), made it a worthwhile investment as a date movie, perhaps the fantasy of living a Big Apple yuppie lifestyle had appeal (Friends was few years away).

Even so, the film is so lamely realized by Zucker, best-known for gag comedies such as Airplane! and Top Secret!, that  you have to ask yourself: "Are people’s expectations really so low?  When the best thing about a film is a comedic turn from Whoopi Goldberg as a jive-assed clairvoyant you’ve got to wonder.




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