Ghostbusters (2016)

Starring: Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia, Neil Casey, Cecily Strong, Bill Murray, Matt Walsh, Michael Kenneth Williams, Zach Woods, Ed Begley Jr, Charles Dance, Karan Soni, Nate Corddry, Michael McDonald, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts
Directed By: Paul Feig

Who You Gonna Call? The original cast, or the new cast? Unlike most remakes that attempt to rehash the same story, Ghostbusters actually blazes an entirely new trail for itself, with a different story, and new characters. It’s a lot more respectable than the YouTube comments would have you believe. In fact, I’m not sure the YouTube commenters are being entirely fair to this film. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid attempt at rebooting a dead franchise. It could have been worse. It could have been Fantastic Four.

Erin (Wiig) is a physics professor up for tenure when she discovers her old book on ghosts is up for sale on Amazon. So, she goes back to her old jilted friend that she wrote the book with, Abby (McCarthy), to see if she can take it down. Abby refuses, because she’s still trying to contact the paranormal, with the help of Holtzmann (McKinnon), another scientist who is really good at building stuff, and is definitely a little bonkers. The three are pulled into a ghost sighting, and see an actual ghost, which ends up in Erin being fired and having nothing to do but join Abby and Holtzmann on their quest. Eventually, Patty (Jones) joins in after having her own encounter with a ghost, and also a really creepy guy (Casey) who might be the reason all the ghosts are appearing. Of course, all good companies need a secretary, so they hire Kevin (Hemsworth), who might be the worst secretary ever, but at least he’s pretty.

Much like he stole the show in Vacation, Hemsworth also steals the show here. I read that the entire bit with him poking through the glasses to scratch his eye was improv, and its brilliant. His character is so fundamentally stupid it feels fresh and original. I know blonde women have been playing variation on this role forever, but to have a muscular jock in that role seems appropriate at the same time. I’d also say I enjoyed the “comic relief” Ghostbusters a lot more than the “serious scientist” Ghostbusters. Meaning, I found McKinnon and Jones to be carrying all the laughs for the team, while Wiig and McCarthy had to tone it down to be taken more seriously. It didn’t really work for me, because I know how funny those two can be, and I don’t think Wiig ever made me laugh in this, and McCarthy maybe got me once. Most of the laughs come from McKinnon and Jones, and not the two powerhouses forced to be super serious all the time.

I thought the film took a little bit to get going, but once it did, I thought it was pretty terrific. I get there’s a need to show us how the gang got together, but the film becomes a lot more fun once the gang IS together. I loved some of the cool tricks, especially the weapons invented by Holtzmann, which showed a lot of ingenuity and imagination, but I also kinda hated the “worm hole” moment near the end, which felt over the top, and then was completely negated when the girls decided to color their hair anyway. It wasn’t even good for a laugh. It was too much icing on the cake. The film was doing just fine, we didn’t need that moment.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s a mixed bag that I think most people will enjoy. I definitely would be down for a sequel, since the weakest part of this film is exposition, and a sequel wouldn’t need any of that. All the little cameos from the original cast placed throughout felt like they were all giving their blessings, and passing the torch, and it was cool. This is one of those films where there is some bad, but there’s enough good to mostly negate the bad.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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