Katie Scott (Bo Derek) is out on the ranch she shares with her husband Scott (Anthony Quinn), and they are both on horseback, but suddenly he falls from his steed and collapses on the snowy ground, obviously in pain. The problem is a heart attack, and as he lies there waiting for medical assistance, he wonders if he may be breathing his last, so asks his wife if he can bite her lip for old times’ sake. But he does receive that attention, and the doctor advises him to take it very easy indeed, since his ticker could give out at any moment, so nothing strenuous; Scott hates taking orders, being a powerful businessman who is a self-made man, but when he hears he cannot have a transplant thanks to his age, he is even more upset…
Ghosts Can’t Do It was the final film directed by John Derek, the heartthrob actor turned softcore director, usually casting his partner of the time in the lead, and for his latter four films he cast wife Bo. None of these received a warm welcome, but if anything he went out on possibly the worst film of his career judging by the reaction, with barely a good thing to be said about it found anywhere – some complimented the photography, for if there was one thing he was effective at it was presenting a nicely composed shot in an exotic or picturesque location, yet the fact remained in spite of those pictorial qualities Derek was even losing his touch there, for much of this came across as an overblown home movie.
Which it more or less was, though perhaps a holiday video might have been a more accurate description as the Dereks jetted to Sri Lanka, The Maldives and Hong Kong among other places to live it up in the sun and maybe make a movie while they were at it. The plot that prompted those excursions was something it’s safe to say had never been tried before, as although this was ostensibly a comedy, a sex comedy at that, it didn’t half feature a lot of scenes of characters feeling sorry for themselves, indeed Scott is so depressed at his health woes that he blows his head off with a shotgun. I know, you’re laughing already, but not to worry, as he enters the afterlife all he is concerned with is the widow he has left behind.
Or more accurately the figure of the widow he has left behind, for the lure of Bo’s bod is too much for him to be separated from. This led to scenes of Katie in those aforementioned locations, having a vacation to forget her troubles or securing business deals, all the while speaking to her deceased husband while he, unseen by anyone else, talks back, though Quinn was not in the same places as Bo, he was in a darkened studio seen in close-up with low budget effects treating his phizog to make it look otherworldly. If this wasn’t distracting enough, the dialogue these two performers carried on had to be heard to be disbelieved, since Scott is determined to shag Katie not one last time but as many times as he can, and to do so he must possess the body of another man. Which is why Katie seeks a handsome young chap to murder so Scott can inhabit his corpse for sexual satisfaction.
You read that right, one of the least appetising premises for a sex comedy ever, and no matter how often Bo doffed her togs it was a huge chore to get through something so amateurish and wrongheaded created by supposed professionals. Also appearing were Julie Newmar as an angel, but only with the camera tight on her largely immobile face, and Don Murray as Scott’s best friend who seems to be lusting after Katie in a very John Derek “old man with younger partner” kind of way, though nowadays perhaps everyone’s thunder was stolen by two short scenes that had somehow cast Donald Trump as himself. He does a deal with Katie while the head of Scott offers advice, as if Quinn was auditioning for Max Headroom, but Trump also appears to put out a contract on her to make sure she can’t complete that transaction which leads to an attempted laff riot where she is chased around a swimming pool naked, not by the millionaire but by hitman Mickey Knox, all the while worried he means to rape her. Quite apart from the fact the heroine plans to bump off an innocent man to get her end away, there was so much wrong with Ghosts Can’t Do It that it was reluctantly compelling in its stupefying manner. Music by Junior Homrich and Randy Tico.