'We Have a Ghost' Is Warm-Spirited Fun

Directed by Christopher Landon

Starring David Harbour, Jahi Winston, Tig Notaro, Erica Nash, Jennifer Coolidge, Niles Fitch, Steve Coulter, Anthony Mackie

Photo courtesy of Netflix

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Feb 24, 2023

When it comes to supernatural family comedies, there hasn't been a solid one in recent years. We Have a Ghost is a feel-good comedy that has charm, heart and even manages to tug at the heartstrings. 

The film follows the Presley family moving into a long-vacant fixer-upper that's sold to them for a steal. Melanie (Erica Ash) and Frank (Anthony Mackie) move in along with their two sons, Kevin (Jahi Winston) and Fulton (Niles Fitch). 

Kevin first encounters the spirit of Ernest (David Harbour) in an attack. Ernest can't speak, and though he unsuccessfully tries to scare the Presleys, he forms a bond with Kevin. Frank, on the other hand, takes a video of the ghost in their attic, uploads it and goes viral.

Soon Frank is trying to cash in on the fame while the public is rooting for Ernest. However, when supernatural expert Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro) and Deputy CIA Director Arnold Schipley (Steve Coulter) get wind of this, they start to interfere with the Presley family and chase down Ernest, who is still trying to piece together how he died. 

The film is far from perfect, but it's got two things going for it: strong performances and the sentimentality of the story. It's the bond between Ernest and Kevin that keeps the film going — their friendship is pure and sincere. Even the quiet moments are stirring and feel earned, with the poignant scenes hitting the necessary emotional beats to save the film. 

The two performers who undoubtedly shine are Winston and Harbour. Winston brings soft tenderness to the teen who wears his heart on his sleeve. The actor compels, and it's his earnestness that makes Kevin and his ghost story an entertaining watch. It takes a strong actor to share the screen with Harbour, and Winston does so effortlessly.

Harbour doesn't have any lines, and yet his performance speaks volumes. The actor brings all the heart to the film, with his expressions alone carrying so much weight, giving audiences all the feels.

As great as Winston and Harbour are in We Have a Ghost, Coolidge is unfortunately severely under-utilized and is barely in one scene. Even Notaro, who usually is a scene-stealer with her comedic timing, wasn't given the right material this time around. 

The film does hit a low point in the third act — some scenes could have been cut to reduce the two-hour runtime — but, overall, the film is a fun, family-friendly one to stream on the weekend.

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