Movie Review

Ghostbusters

"Who you gonna call?"
(2)
Ghostbusters Movie Poster

US Release Date: 07/15/2016

Directed by:Paul Feig

Starring

Average Stars:
:
Reviewed on: July 20th, 2016
Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters

Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters

This Ghostbusters remake is selling itself on the fact that it has an all female lead. Okay, but does that alone make it better, funnier or more entertaining? Only, I guess, if you are a fan of these actresses. The plot is very close to the original with many small details changed. Throughout the movie we see a continuous stream of references to the original. The better you know the first film, the more you will recognize them. It is a cute enough gimmick but only serves to remind us of how much more we liked the original.

So, I am back to the statement that the only thing selling this version is the new cast. Melissa McCarthy is Abby, a paranormal enthusiast who once wrote a book with her high school best friend Erin, played by
Kristen Wiig. After being fired from her job at Columbia University, Erin joins Abby and her crazed assistant, Jillian (Kate McKinnon) to form a haunting spirit investigation team. They are soon joined by Patty, (Leslie Jones) an MTA employee who sees one of the first ghosts they look into. As in the original, the ladies constantly spout a stream of faux science paranormal babble. Of the four, McKinnon sells it the best and, in my opinion, nearly steals the film.

Although the ladies are the stars, my favorite character is Kevin, the dumb as a box of rocks stud, played humorously by Chris Hemsworth. He has some of the funniest lines and scenes. During his interview to be their receptionist, he points to a fish tank and states with all seriousness, "You know an aquarium is a submarine for fish." Kevin is, of course, a struggling actor and at one point holds up two pictures of himself shirtless and asks the ladies which one makes him look more like a doctor. The one where he is pretending to play a saxophone or the one where he is listening to it, literally.

When I write that we have seen most of this before, I am not just referring to the original. McCarthy does her usual slapstick shtick. I know some, like our aunt, who love her comedy, while I have long grown tired of her act. Jones plays the same loud angry black woman that she does in so many of her SNL skits. Wiig gets stuck playing the straight man and is not given enough to do. Only McKinnon runs with her role, taking it right over-the-top, where it belongs. She truly shines in the final battle with the ghosts in Time Square.

There are plenty of fun moments to enjoy and some humor to go around, but it truly only serves to remind us of the original movie. Most of the 1984 cast makes appearances here but none provide any laughs. Even the deceased Harold Ramis appears via a life like bust. Bill Murray gets the most screen time but left me wondering why. Dan Akroyd plays a cabbie who spouts a line from the famous theme song. " I ain't afraid of no ghosts." Speaking of the theme, the movie opens with it and later we hear a new version by Fall Out Boy. Instead of trying to pack in as many nods to the first film, they should have just let this one stand alone, so we are not constantly wishing we were watching that one instead.

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Reviewed on: July 20th, 2016
Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters.

Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters.

I'm not sure what Eric means when he says, "This Ghostbusters remake is selling itself on the fact that it has an all female lead." While that aspect has been making news because it's such a rare thing, the marketing I've seen has been selling this movie as a comedy featuring some very funny actors. I haven't seen any publicity from the studio saying you should see this movie because it features a female cast. And the reason it has received so much attention in the press for having an all female lead cast is because those sorts of movies are so rare. Can you name another Sci-Fi movie with this kind of budget where all of the leads were female?

And it's easy to see why the marketing has focused on the cast, because they are indeed the best thing about this movie. They share a great chemistry and play off of each other very nicely. As Eric said, McCarthy does her usual routine, but it works here. My biggest problem with her performances in other films is that she does too much improv in scenes that tend to run long, but here she is mostly kept in check. This is a group effort and no one is allowed to monopolize the story. Jones has some funny moments, but I disagree that she's playing an "angry" black woman. She's actually one of the more upbeat characters. Although I agree that Wiig plays it more subdued than the others, she isn't entirely the straight man. Her crush on Kevin provides some laughs. I think it's just that compared to how broad everyone else is playing their part, her more subtle performance feels serious by comparison.

Where I wholeheartedly agree with Eric is that McKinnon is fantastic, but while my brother says, "nearly steals the film", I say she definitely steals it. This shouldn't be too surprising however as she's been the funniest person on Saturday Night Live for the past couple of years. Her moment in Times Square that Eric mentioned is the film's only real stand-up and cheer moment and she makes the most of it. No matter what happens with this franchise I'm confidant that at the very least this will be the movie that launches McKinnon's film career.

While the cast are great and individual scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, the plot as a whole isn't as strong as its parts. It feels very episodic and when the climax comes it feels almost tacked on as if the filmmakers suddenly realized that they needed to end the movie in a big way and so threw in a CGI extravaganza in Times Square. I also can't help but wish that instead of being a reboot that this movie had been a sequel to the original films. They were obviously able to hire most of the original cast back, so why not just have them play their original characters in the film. Maybe they could have gone missing decades ago, or even died, since obviously this franchise has established there are such things as ghosts. Then instead of Bill Murray playing an ultimately pointless and surprisingly unfunny character, he could have been a spectral Obi-wan Kenobi type figure to Melissa McCarthy's Luke Skywalker. Or maybe they wouldn't show up until the end when the new Ghostbusters are able to rescue them from an alternate dimension where they've been trapped for years.

Despite rumors of a sequel (and the post-credits scene that suggests where they would go with it), the possibility that this franchise will continue in this form is still a question mark. However, I really hope they get a chance to make one. No matter what they do in that one it's bound to better than the original Ghostbusters 2.

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