What always appealed to me about the original 1984 hit was its unique sense of humor that never tries too hard. It’s not quite imitated successfully with this remake of Ghostbusters, in fact it switches back and forth between trying too hard, not trying hard enough and hitting it just right. A majority of the humor between three of the four leads stems from intentional discomfort. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it just gets on my nerves. Overall, the humor is hit or miss, but there were moments that did genuinely make me smile. Just a word of caution though: there is one fart joke that falls flat in the first ten minutes, but just one, and it’s thankfully not cringe worthy enough to hurt the rest of the film.
So now let me get to the real matter at hand: the four women replacing the famous foursome.
Kristen Wiig is the new Bill Murray of the team. She plays a psychology professor at Columbia University whose book about the paranormal has been published online by her co-author/ longtime friend without permission. Wiig plays her character’s discomfort as calmly as possible, even while getting repeatedly puked on by ectoplasm. It’s not the best role she’s played, but it will pass. It’s also worth noting that the conflict with the book publishing sparks the events leading to the team, yet it is never resolved or even mentioned again after the first act.
She is for sure the one who stands out beside her old friend Melissa McCarthy, who plays the Dan Aykroyd of this team. She’s alright when paired with Wiig, but stands for not much else besides playing off the others.
Saturday Night Live performer Kate McKinnon is the Harold Ramis of the team, quiet but spunky with her gadgets. She is easily the most likable of the ladies.
But then there’s Leslie Jones, who plays the Ernie Hudson of the group. She’s the African American subway guard who joins the team purely for comic relief and nothing more. Now, Jones certainly tries her hardest with the direction given, but she still appears overall offensive to Black women by the way she screams all her lines, as well as one piece of dialogue that states how Black women know the most about New York City. Well, that’s certainly not a debatable statement at all, now is it?
As much fun as the cast may seem to be having, the movie’s reversal of gender roles in an attempt for social correctness is getting us absolutely nowhere. In fact, all the negative stereotypes are still very much here, just in a different way than we’re expecting. Take a look at who Chris Hemsworth plays: he’s cast as the eye candy that parallels the dumb-blonde secretary, with emphasis on the dumb part. He only got the job because the other ladies find him hot, and their interview with him consists purely of girly flirting. Now, Hemsworth is for sure the funniest character in the cast, but his shallowness still adds to how confused Ghostbusters is in terms of social correctness.
What exactly did director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy, The Office) get right with his rehash of the classic? He still flings elements of mystery fun with the equipment testing and ghost hijinks in a rock concert. I can even forgive him for the awful special effects, because the feeling of cheesy hysteria still remains. But it’s still difficult to recommend because of the lack of real tension behind anything that happens. It’s not just because of the unresolved subplots, but because of the main villain’s lack of any motivation to fill New York with ghosts. Seriously, it’s never explained.
Overall, Ghostbusters is not the worst thing ever, like the YouTube comments made it out to be, and it is still a satisfactory feature without the original, but I doubt any lasting satisfaction could land from this wild heap.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Victoria. The New Ghostbusters DGAF What You Think About Them In This Amazing Promo Pic. Digital image. Space. Bell Media, 16 Dec 2015. Web. <https://www.space.ca/new-ghostbusters-promo-pic/>.
Ghostbusters. Columbia Pictures. Web. <http://www.ghostbusters.com/>.
Manelis, Michele. Why Melissa McCarthy stopped listening to the haters. News.com, 12 July 2016. Web. <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/new-movies/why-melissa-mccarthy-stopped-listening-to-the-haters/news-story/ac447f73d91630998d1293943e751ecc>.