Bill Cosby enjoys an out-of-sitcom experience in "Ghost Dad," a benign look at single trans-parenthood in the ether world. Slight and sweet as a Casper cartoon, this Huxtabilian comedy is a shade too blithe to be regarded as spirited, but it does deliver the promised nonviolent family fare.
Relying on special effects and his familiar hokey mugging, Cosby plays Elliot Hopper, a workaholic widower who has not been making time for his three adorable children (Salim Grant, Brooke Fontaine and Kimberly Russell). A matter of minutes into the story, he finds himself on the astral plane with only a ghost of a chance at making amends. However, with help from his lovely neighbor (Denise Nicholas), a British ghost buster (Ian Bannen) and the children, he manages to prevail.
Ectoplasm aside, Cosby's "Ghost Dad" has a lot in common with last summer's "Uncle Buck." Directed by Sidney Poitier and written by "Short Circuit's" Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson, the story focuses on a father's nonfinancial responsibilities to his loved ones. An earnest premise expounded in Cosby comic style, it goes no deeper than a half-hour of pixilated jollity. But it isn't bad for you.