Whoopi Goldberg and Haley Joel Osment in Bogus (1996)

Osment Sees Invisible Person

I feel like I should love "Bogus" it has a fantasy storyline which harks back to the Capra era, in fact with a storyline featuring an invisible friend there is also an element of Koster's "Harvey" about it. But unfortunately "Bogus" is one of those movies which the longer it goes on the less interesting it is and by the time it goes full on fantasy before it delivers its heart warming ending it has become a bit of a bore. That is a shame because not only does it feature a modern take on a Capra style heart warming story but the story itself of young Albert struggling with living with an Aunt after the death of his mother is a good one.

Young Albert's (Haley Joel Osment - Forrest Gump) life is perfect, all the performers at The Mirage where his mother works love him and the resident magician is teaching him how to do tricks. But his life is ripped apart when one day his mother is killed in a road accident and he finds himself being sent to live with Aunt Harriet (Whoopi Goldberg - Corrina, Corrina), his mother's foster sister who he has never heard of and with Harriet being a business woman with not an ounce of maternal instinct it is not going to be fun. But there is someone to help him, his imaginary friend flamboyant Frenchman Bogus (Gérard Depardieu) who protects him and offers him kind words when Harriet struggles.

GĂ©rard Depardieu as Bogus in Bogus (1996)

In a way "Bogus" opens on such a high note that everything from then on is unfortunately down hill. Now that opening gives us how much everyone loves Albert at the Vegas showroom, the impact of his mother dying and plenty of magic. Whether it is camera trickery or what watching the magic be it by Monsieur Antoine or Albert is great fun.

But as I said this is a movie which slides down hill and so after that we have the amusement of Harriet not being maternal whilst Albert talks to his invisible friend Bogus. It is fun from little things such as Harriet repeatedly getting parking tickets to the water fight which Albert and Bogus have in the bath. But it just lacks something, something sharp to make it really come to life and because it lacks that something all we really get is Albert unhappy, Bogus trying to make him happy and Harriet struggling with instant motherhood.

Now this evolves into a full blown fantasy and unfortunately for me this is where "Bogus" lost me, it just became too far fetched as things suddenly happen. I'm not saying what those things are because I don't want to spoil it for you but let's just say that everything gets sorted a little too quickly and nicely for my liking. Maybe I missed the deeper meaning because it certainly feels like this is a movie made with children who have lost parents in mind but it becomes too fantasy for me.

Now I would be lying if I said that the trio of Whoopi Goldberg, Gérard Depardieu and Haley Joel Osment gave there greatest performances but they are good enough. It's a case that Whoopi Goldberg and Gérard Depardieu play to type with Whoopi giving attitude whilst Depardieu gives us flamboyant but it is okay. And young Haley Joel Osment is also good enough as troubled young Albert and he does a great job of selling the scenes when he does magic tricks.

What this all boils down to is that "Bogus" ended up a very middle of the road movie for me which started well but slowly slipped down wards till eventually it struggled to keep my attention. But if you want a bit of touching family fantasy well it is good enough.

Tags: Instant Families