I am not a fan of remakes, by and large, but I don’t consider it sacrilege to have rebooted this 1984 comedy hit…nor do I think it’s foolish to have cast it with females in the leading roles. In fact, it’s the women who make the movie so enjoyable. The interaction among Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones offers a fresh take on the basic story and sets it apart from the original.
Writer-director Paul Feig has made a specialty of crafting good parts for women in recent years, including Wiig and McCarthy (in Bridesmaids and Spy), so it should come as no surprise that he has developed entertaining characters for these actresses to play.
As for the plot, there isn’t much to say except that ghosts have been sighted in New York City. This causes former science buddies Wiig and McCarthy, who had a falling-out years ago, to join forces again along with inventor-tinkerer McKinnon and proactive subway worker Jones.
Feig plays to the women’s comic strengths, and dots the cast with talented people like Ed Begley, Jr., Charles Dance, Katie Dippold, Steve Higgins, Nate Corddry, Andy Garcia and, in a running joke as a bumbling hunk, Chris Hemsworth.
My chief complaint about Ghostbusters is that as it becomes more involved in actual ghostbusting, during the second half, it gets so caught up in elaborate visual effects that it too often forgets to be funny. It’s never dull, and blessedly, not stupid or raunchy…but like any remake, it lacks the spontaneity and surprise quotient of the first movie. Even the cameos by the original cast members, while pleasing, seem inevitable.
In sum, Ghostbusters offers agreeable light entertainment, if nothing particularly hilarious or memorable. Compared to some of the other summer offerings this year, this one can certainly hold its own.