Bogus appears on Quiz Call as an answer to the question ‘Films beginning with B‘, and was remarkably guessed by a member of the public, who may have actually been calling in to give their opinion on the show.
Albert (Haley Joel Osment) is a young boy with a talent for magic after growing up around his magician’s assistant mum (Nancy Travis) and her performer friends. But when she dies suddenly he’s sent to live with her estranged foster sister, the un-motherly Harriet (Whoopi Goldberg). Thankfully imaginary friend Bogus (Gerard Depardieu) is there to keep him company.
Osment, eight on the film’s release, shows a maturity beyond his years which was typical of his output in the 1990s, and even pulls off a number of sleight-of-hand magic tricks. Depardieu is reminiscent of one of Christoph Waltz’s nice-guy roles as the titular Bogus, and Goldberg strikes a good balance between being loving and frustrated.
Director Norman Jewison (Fiddler on the Roof) does an excellent job, particularly with the film’s more fantastical elements such as its magic and dream sequences, keeping us guessing at what’s really real. Its subject matter is very close to A Monster Calls, as a child uses an imaginary/magical being to cope with grief, and while A Monster Quiz Calls doesn’t have that film’s raw emotion, it’s likable, fun and ironically genuine-feeling.