All sexist nerd rage aside, if anyone could have pulled off topping a 80’s classic, it would have been this group of women. (I might have thrown in Maya Rudolph for good measure, but to each their own.) Unfortunately, there’s not enough energy in this script to help our talented group of comedians. So what went right and what was off in the newest paranormal adventure in New York.
I’m not gonna sugar coat it…I wasn’t in love with the idea of this film. If you’ve ever read one of my reviews, you know how much I despise quick money grabs and cheap remakes. While Ghostbusters didn’t earn Batman v Superman levels of scorn, it certainly received an unfounded amount of hate. The misogynistic attacks on the reboot’s premise have been well documented. There were plenty of people, mostly males, who were honestly upset for the wrong reasons. Look, I can totally agree with hating reboots and remakes. The track record of them being any good or matching the original is pretty terrible. If your entire argument is “We are not going to watch it because you changed the gender”, you don’t have a leg to stand on.
What About The Cast?
This group of comedians and their chemistry define the strongest aspect of the film. I liked the back and forth between McCarthy and Wiig; but they were easily overshadowed by the rest of the cast. The funniest moments to me, came from Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. McKinnon stole most of the show when the camera was on her, parabolas and all. I wanted to see more of her honestly and you’ll probably be disappointed that we didn’t. Leslie Jones gets a great amount of screen-time and while I understand the anger some fans felt by her being the street wise black character, she played it well. That’s another conversation we can have later, but she had many great moments and *attempted* to keep the team balanced. Hemsworth’s character almost drove me nuts because he was so inept that it just wasn’t funny at times. When the joke landed though, it was pretty hilarious and enjoyable. It’s sad that the jokes were on a razor’s edge like that which leads to my main problem…
That’s A Pretty Limp Twinkie
It’s not consistently funny. A comedic film doesn’t have to be funny or gut busting every single moment but I did contemplate busting out Pokemon Go as few times. McKinnon, as great as she was, would have a good moment, only to be immediately followed up by some techno-babble that just didn’t fit or lead nowhere. Pointing back to the original film, when Peter or Winston heard some over the top explanation from Ray or Egon, they would usually ask for some layman explanation. Leslie Jones character did this in bunches, but we needed a bit more and these moments would have been smoothed out.
My other problem is really aimed at Paul Feig. It’s been a problem since I watched Spy, which relied too much on the “Let’s wink, nod, and hope no one noticed we didn’t write a joke” method of comedy writing. I loved Bridesmaids and The Heat, which had similar moments, but still had solid joke structures elsewhere. In those two films, I’m laughing along the entire way. Unfortunately, you will not get the same kind of fluidity here. To be fair, it’s no where near as bad as Grown Ups, which is simply a bunch of comedians past their prime saying something inept, standing back for a group laugh, and then giving the audience a big middle finger.
The plot is simple enough and the villain just as mediocre as a any Marvel *Insert random motivations* villain. Even if you can get past the hit or miss jokes, there’s a definite randomness that happens in the last act. Otherwise, it’s structurally fine if only a bit bumbled a bit.
Chances are though, you are still going to enjoy most of this film. My screening was emptier than a school in the summer, but watching this with a group will probably improve the experience. In my experience, watching solo makes for a terrible movie viewing The cameos are a great; they may have forced them a bit, but overall I found great joy in them. I’m kind of sad Rick Moranis didn’t come back for an appearance considering how many of the cast participated. Even the deceased Harold Ramis finds a way into this film (Moviegoers, look for a bust of Egon in the Erin Gilbert’s (Wiig) office.
I would be excited to see these 4 in another film. Get the jokes ironed out, clean up the narrative, and we could potentially be looking at a sequel that surpasses the original. Or it could fail flatter ; that’s how razor edge Hollywood has become. Either it’s a hit or it’s so mediocre you wouldn’t watch it for free on basic access TV.
Ghostbusters (2016): 6 out of 10
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