Ghostbusters is an okay reboot of a comedy classic. It has funny moments, but falls far short of hilarious – and that would have been the case regardless of the gender of the leads. The dominance of estrogen over testosterone in this “Ghostbusters for a new generation” has everything to do with what makes the movie entertaining, and nothing to do with what makes the narrative fall flat. These talented ladies deserved better material from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), but that said, they make the most of what they got.
The reboot features the comedy quad of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and the scene-stealing Kate McKinnon as a ragtag band of paranormal researchers out to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. Turns out apparitions are lurking all across Manhattan- in hotels, museums, subway tunnels, overhead. The gals know it, and so does the government. But the government would rather keep the ghostly shenanigans on the down-low for reasons that don’t make all that much sense. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is added to the mix for some much-appreciated eye-candy… representing a gender-bending twist on the traditional ditzy female receptionist role in a male-dominated world. He plays a total doofus who is simply too fine to fire.
With all that’s new, there’s plenty old to amp up the nostalgia factor. The movie pays homage to the original with a series of cameos, inside jokes, proton packs, slime, and of course, the converted hearse sporting the all-familiar GhostBusters logo. In some ways, the reboot feels more like a parody than a straight-up comedy do-over. So the more seriously you try and take it, the more disappointed you may be. (Note to the purists, haters, and Internet trolls who blasted the movie before it was even in the can: There’s a scene devoted just to you!). While I don’t think the haters had a right to pre-judge the movie sight unseen, I do think there could and should have been a way to better integrate the past into the present, to preserve what Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis, and Harold Ramis brought to the screen in 1984 (and the 1989 sequel)… similar to the way Creed recently set a path for rebooting the Rocky franchise. Perhaps they’ll figure that out for the sequel, and I have no doubt there will be one.
Who ya gonna call – back?