Ghostbusters Review

“Ghostbusters” is the 2016 remake of the original film, starring an all-female cast lead by the talents of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth.  Directed by “Bridesmaids” and “Spy” helmer Paul Feig, this new reboot/remake tells the story of three paranormal enthusiasts who start a ghost catching business.  When the threat of unleashed ghosts threatens to overtake Manhattan, the newly formed “Ghostbusters” team up with a street wise subway toll booth runner and a dumber than nails receptionist.  “Ghostbusters” is the sequel that fans have been waiting decades for; or is it?

So I’m going to say this up front.  My two favorite comedy films of all-time are “Young Frankenstein” and “Ghostbusters.”  “Ghostbusters” is an old film, that still works incredibly well today, and even though the effects look a little dated and pre-CGI, the puppetry and costume work still amazes.  Plus, Ramis, Murray, and Aykroyd had the best chemistry in any comedy film that I have ever seen.  All three men were at the height of their comedic powers and that film, for whatever reason is a masterpiece and I still enjoy the hell out of it.  I wanted “Ghostbusters III” to happen for a very long time and unfortunately it never did and it never will.  When they announced that the franchise would be rebooted with an all-female cast, I admit I was intrigued even though I had some major reservations.  I liked everything I heard about the film, up until I saw the first trailers.  The trailers, sucked!  This film looked absolutely horrible in every possible way.  But I got to tell you, it wasn’t as horrible as the trailers looked or as some want you to believe.  I was mildly entertained with this new “Ghostbusters” film, but that being said it isn’t a good movie.

First the positives.  For one thing, I really liked the chemistry between all the girls.  They felt very organic together and I enjoyed their bits for most of the time.  A lot of the comedy didn’t work, but at least they tried.  I wasn’t a fan of Leslie Jones’ character.  She was very loud, angry and over the top and sometimes she worked and other times she fell way flat.  Melissa McCarthy was fine up until the second half of the movie, then she turned in her usual performance which annoyed me.  She was very loud, obnoxious and felt idiotic.  Kristen Wiig was wonderfully playful and I quite enjoyed Kate McKinnon’s character.  Jillian Holtzman, was one of the best characters in the film and McKinnon’s performance, while cartoony was one of the funniest parts of the movie.  Chris Hemsworth played an extremely stupid receptionist that wasn’t funny and just didn’t fit into the movie; I felt like he was doing a skit.  And that’s the biggest issue with this film is that it feels like an overlong SNL skit with big budget effects.

The story made very little sense.  Characters from the original film, alas Slimer, Zuul and The Stay Puft Marshmellow Man all have some sort of presence one way or another but it made no sense to have them in here because this is a reboot of the franchise that doesn’t recognize the other movies?  I don’t know, it was very confusing and the cameos started off ok but then they felt forced.  Every two seconds a new cameo or reference would pop up and I yelled “Oh come on already!”  I get that this was paying homage to the original but we don’t need an homage because we still have the original!  The first act of the film, feels completely new and different which I loved but then the story beats molded into the original so much that I found myself feeling a little deja vu.  The story lost me and the villain, Rowan, was so one note, throwaway and wasn’t evil, scary or menacing in any sense of the word.  In fact, I still am not sure why he wanted to unleash all of the ghosts into the world.  It was so vague and by that point I didn’t care.

What did work for me was some of the action set pieces.  Some of them were kind of fun and entertaining and even though I didn’t like the film, I enjoyed some of the ghost catching sequences and the buckets of slim that was projectiled everywhere.  There were some fun and exciting moments, especially that opening scene but the movie just falls apart feeling like a very overused and boring modern SNL sketch.  When all is said and done, this is a harmless film for kids to enjoy, especially if they haven’t seen the original.  It’s innocent enough and fun enough for families to enjoy this supernatural comedy, just don’t expect much from it because it never matches the heights set by the 1984 film.  Even though the girls are talented and funny, they aren’t Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis who are comedy legends.

“Ghostbusters” isn’t all bad but it isn’t good either.  There are some fun and exciting moments in the film for sure, but a lame villain, the campy effects and the horrid story makes this movie a film that will be forgotten in T-Minus two weeks.  I can’t see them making more of these and I don’t think the hardcore fans want it.  I enjoyed “Ghostbusters” for what it was and that’s not saying much because I expected nothing from it.  All I can say is that it had some merits and it also had some major problems.  I’m in the middle on this one.  I can’t give it a fresh rating, but I also can’t fail it so I think I’ll watch the original again and go in between on my rating for Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters.”

Grade:  D+ 

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