Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Provided By: International Digital Center
Narration Written By Dakota Green
For once, I want a film where the lead kid/teenager who befriends whatever entity the film requires to not be a loner or an outcast. It’s always the sad kid who has no friends. popular kids never make friends with ghosts or aliens or talking toys. It’s always someone broken who needs fixing.
Believe it or not, this netflix release passed my litmus test for 2023, aka The year I Stop Watching Shit I Don’t Want To See. I figured, stupidly, a film starring David Harbor and Anthony Mackie, with Tig notaro and Jennifer Coolidge in supporting roles would be good. I was wrong.
I love Casper. it’s like a comfort film. This just isn’t “black Casper”, by the way, in case you think my only problem is that there’s some shift of race, and somehow that degraded the quality of the film. no, the problem is this film has no idea what it wants to be or say. it kind of throws everything at you, and walks away.
So you’re left with a family that moved into a new house, and the lead kid, Kevin, meets another outcast type at school who references that as some kind of murder house. Of course, she must be referencing the ghost haunting the house, that tries to scare the family, but kevin tries to befriend it. He’s so desperate for friendship, he wants to befriend a mute ghost. Yeah, David harbor doesn’t talk. He just moans his way through this movie.
Kevin has a stereotypical jock asshole older brother, and his parents seemingly can’t be bothered. Until, they realize there’s this ghost, and it ends up on YouTube, and suddenly this family becomes like the Kardashians. But then we get a stupid plot about government experiments that’s barely explained, which is how Tig notaro is roped in, and Jennifer Coolidge shows up in an extended cameo to try and see about turning this family into a reality show. If that wasn’t enough, Kevin and his awkward friend try to investigate how this ghost died, or if he was murdered, or even who he is since he can’t remember, and also can’t talk.
What should be a rather simple comedy transcends all genres except western, and runs over two hours. I don’t know why. It tries for some big scares, in the films most interesting segment where David Harbor tries to impress Jennifer Coolidge with his ghostly prowess. Some of that stuff sounds freaky, and makes me think little kids watching this might not be a good idea. But then, we have our hard hitting emotional drama, as Anthony Mackie was apparently contractually obligated to have the worlds most awkward and out of place monologue about being a failure as a father.
If I could hav run into a wall repeatedly until I knocked myself unconscious while this was playing, i would have. Jennifer Coolidge is the best thing in this film, and honestly, its the same role she always plays, and she’s barely in the film. Having a David harbor that can’t talk is a waste of his talent. he’s not even a physical comedian, so the choice is so random. At least if the ghost was Boen yang or something, I could get into maybe some more physical comedy. As it stands I don’t know what the hell this is.
The audio description is as good as it can be. It has to track a mute ghost for most of the film, so whenever David Harbor is around, usually the audio description focuses on him. It made for a very entertaining exchange between him and Coolidge, which is why this film doesn’t get an F grade.
i would take a hatchet to this film, easily chop 30 minutes out. I’d drop Tig Notaro and her entire subplot. Then I would try and make this film tonally consistent.
They may have a ghost, but you probably should avoid it.
Final Grade: D