MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1

Originating in the 1940's, the animated character of Casper (voice of Malachi Pearson) now comes to the screen in a feature film. He and three animated comical ghostly cohorts, Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso, live in a huge old haunted house which has been inherited by Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty). So, she hires Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), a ghost therapist, to run the ghosts off. Dr. Harvey and his teenage daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), move into the house and soon find themselves harassed by the rambunctious, ghostly trio. But Casper just wants to be friends with them and before long they are on good terms. The ghostly trio whirl about in all sorts of wild, comical antics as Dr. Harvey tries to analyze them. However, about all he does is persuade them to locate the spirit of his deceased wife so he can talk to her. The ghostly trio virtually steal the show with their comical escapades, quips and facial expressions. The film moves at a rapid pace with spectacular special effects and gadgetry and amazing computer generated cartoon characters. Children under six probably won't fully understand or appreciate the film, but older children will likely be fascinated.

The film has enough rough language to avoid a G rating and has a PG rating which will attract older children. Several hells and damns are spoken by adults, as well as an obscenity and a few regular profanities. Teenager Kat also blurts out an obscenity in a fit of anger. Happily, though, there's no sexual content or suggestive language. The action includes lots of comical confrontations, such as sword fighting, kicking, gun threats, pushing and shoving and scaring people. They are mild, though, compared to most cartoons. Casper's desire to have friends is touching and Dr. Harvey's desire to contact his deceased wife adds a soft, sentimental touch to the film. However, communicating with spirits of the dead poses some concern since the Bible (Deut. 18:11) condemns this practice. If this practice is portrayed as strictly fantasy and not condoned, it would seem to be harmless. In this movie, however, it becomes rather realistic at times, particularly when Dr. Harvey speaks with his deceased wife. Both this element and the rough language tend to tarnish this otherwise commendable film.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA, 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (10) times - Mild 7, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Twice (no f- or s-words)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular 3 (Christ's Sake,Jeez); Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times-Mild and Moderate (rough treatment, sword fight, kicking, gun threats, woman falls off cliff, ghosts scare people)

Sex: None

Nudity: Near Nudity few times (female ghosts in low cut dresses)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Once - Man drunk in bar

Other: Communicating with dead portrayed as acceptable.

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Children over 5 years old

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.