When Ghostbusters (2016) was announced with four women in the title roles, I was intrigued. While I’m not a fan or remakes, if you’re going to do one, bring something new to the table. And then the trailer came out and it was terrible. Fan outrage grew and they declared the movie a future dud.
But Paul Feig, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy make incredibly funny movies. So I went in with an open and hopeful mind.
And you know what? The movie is pretty good. Hilarious in some cases. But while I enjoy the movie, the tone turns me off a bit.
The four women in the Ghostbuster roles are what work best. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig have great chemistry as the two lead Ghostbusters, Abby and Erin. McCarthy finds a perfect balance between her over the top persona and a genuine character. And Wiig is strong as the quirky underdog. Lesley Jones, who is probably the least well known of the new Ghostbusters, is also very good.
However, the rest of the cast is hit or miss.
I single out Kate McKinnon’s character Holtmann for a reason. I love her on SNL, but in this movie she is very funny some of the time, but obnoxiously weird most of the time. This is especially true early in the movie, where a lot of her jokes and mugging fell flat. The character is at her best when she is giddily explaining the new gadgets. You are either going to love or hate her.
Chris Hemsworth is the dumb receptionist and he has some of the funniest moments early in the movie, but his shtick seems to run out of steam and get repetitive as the movie progresses. There are a number of cameos from the original cast as well that vary from fun to unnecessary. Bill Murray’s cameo is wasted. And Andy Garcia, Charles Dance and Michael Kenneth Williams really don’t have a lot to do. They get a few laughs, but ultimately have no reason to be there.
The movie’s effects are very good. The new Ghostbusters use a plethora of new gadgets that light up the screen in fun ways. I didn’t see the movie in 3D, but from what I saw it must be pretty impressive. The climax is a bit over the top though.
The movie’s biggest flaw is it’s tone. I have heard criticism that all the men are portrayed as buffoons and jerks. However, literally everyone in the movie who isn’t a Ghostbuster is portrayed this way. Seriously, have none of you seen a Paul Feig comedy? Everyone in his movies is portrayed this way.
That said, the movie suffers a bit for that tone. Is New York work saving when it’s full of buffoonish jerks? And the stakes don’t feel very high. The over the top ending makes sense…it’s as though the movie is trying to make up for lack of urgency or tension from the first two acts.
SCORE: 7 out of 10