High Spirits

Peter O’Toole plays the owner of a languishing country hotel in Ireland who decides to turn his establishment into a haunted castle; Daryl Hannah plays a ghost who falls in love with hotel guest Steve Guttenberg. Written and directed by Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, The Company of Wolves); with Beverly D’Angelo and Liam Neeson. What mainly seems to go wrong here is the clumsy effort to rework English material for the American market, which results in a certain amount of forced whimsy and slapstick, mechanical crosscutting, and an excessive reliance on second-rate special effects. Hannah is appealing as one of the ghosts, but most of the rest of the cast seem either strained or strident. (O’Toole, alas, seems to be engaging in the sort of stumbling self-parody that characterized the late performances of John Barrymore.) Intermittently diverting, but not much more. (JR)

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