Beverly Hills Ghost

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Beverly Hills Ghost Movie Poster Image
Dead teen looks for her murderer in low-budget comedy.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dead people can slip into the bodies of the dying and come back to life in the new body.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lots of stereotypes. No one liked Missy, the heiress who was killed mysteriously, so the list of possible killers is long. She haunts and harasses a living girl until the girl agrees to help find the killer.

Violence

A girl is mysteriously killed but no one knows by whom. Someone is stabbed and taken to the hospital. Someone is knocked to the ground, where she bleeds profusely from the head. Someone is electrocuted. Stolen paintings are hidden in a locked room. A bodyguard puts a razor in his mouth. Later fake blood is seen around his teeth. A girl is deliberately tripped and falls off a stage, which puts her into a coma. A girl leaves a suicide note although she didn't commit suicide. Two high school students punch each other.

Sex

Teens have boyfriends and girlfriends and the accompanying jealousies but no sex is discussed or seen.

 

Language

"Douche wad," "d-bag," "ho-bag," "hell," "skank," and "crap."
 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beverly Hills Ghost intends to be a comedy and social satire on the privileged high school set. A major character is dead and is visible only to another character who has had a near-death experience. A murder investigation pushes the plot along, until a climax that includes a stabbing, a bloody head injury, and an electrocution. A girl leaves a suicide note although she didn't commit suicide. Language includes "douche wad," "d-bag," "ho-bag," "hell," "skank," and "crap."

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What's the story?

The BEVERLY HILLS GHOST here is high school heiress Missy (Decker Sadowski), who can't remember who slipped her poison and pushed her to her death in the family swimming pool. Along comes a chess nerd from New Jersey, Sari (Maddisyn Carter), whose near-death experience has left her with the peculiar ability to see dead people, including Missy. An unspecified lawsuit involving said near-death provides Sari's family with sufficient funds to move to Beverly Hills, straight into heiress Missy's oddly low-rent, now vacant home.  Missy uses her haunting powers to press Sari into service as investigator into the unsolved murder. In order to find the killer, Missy must transform the unwilling Sari (think Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls) into someone well-dressed enough to infiltrate Missy's crew -- the fashionistas. Sari would rather play chess, but to get Missy to stop haunting her she succumbs to layers of makeup and false eyelashes, teetering high heels and sedate outfits that make her look more like a receptionist than a high school student. Missy insists that Sari audition for lead singer of the band featuring Missy's boyfriend, Aidan (Sean Moran), and his friend, Justin (Kristian Maxwell-McGeever), in the quest to investigate more deeply. The investigation hits dead ends but the killer is eventually outed and made to pay.

Is it any good?

This movie looks like it was made on a shoe-string budget. That said, many a well-made low-budget film has overcome budgetary restrictions. Unfortunately, Beverly Hills Ghost suffers from restrictions in more crucial areas, including originality and script. Even though this is clearly aimed at tweens and teens, most viewers in that age group have probably conceived and created more riveting videos all by themselves on their cell phones. Disappointing choices abound. Grayish makeup is painted around the eyes, chin, and neck of an actor playing a dead person, making her look more like a Dalmatian than a ghost. In imitation of Mean Girls, "clever" teenage stereotypes are offered -- "the surfers," "the fashionistas," "the Persians," "the film nerds." A character is forced to have a makeover. There's nothing new or interesting here. Older kids deserve a better comedy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teen comedies. How does Beverly Hills Ghost compare to others you've seen?

  • Like many teen comedies, this one includes a makeover scene. Why do so many movies include a scene where a character has to completely change her look and style?

  • This movie has lots of stereotypes. Which ones do you notice? How can stereotyping be harmful?

Movie details

For kids who love teen titles

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