At The Movies: Ghostbusters

When I first heard there was talk of making a new “Ghostbusters” movie I thought it unlikely. After all, Harold Ramis is dead, Dan Aykroyd can hardly fit in one of those jumpsuits anymore, and Bill Murray is probably busy playing golf.

Then I heard it was going to be a reboot, figured “why bother?” and moved on.

Then I heard it was going to feature an all-female cast of Ghostbusters. I thought, “Oh. I guess that’s different. Still, why bother?” and moved on.

And then it became a thing. Some people were blasting it for the casting decisions. Other people started blasting the people who were upset over the casting decisions. Suddenly if you didn’t like the movie you hated women and if you supported it you were one of those social justice warriors.

The last article I read before seeing the movie claimed that if this film doesn’t make big bucks at the box office it will be the end for women fronting big budget action-comedy movies forever.

Man, that’s a lot of pressure. I mean, if I give this movie a bad review it could crush its chances at the box office and the future for all blockbuster-women-action-comedies. I don’t need that kind of stress. I wish I had gone to see “The Infiltrator” instead.

ghostbusters_ver6_xlgSo, “Ghostbusters” 2.0.

Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig star as Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert, two besties who grew up believing in ghosts and once out of school write a book about the paranormal. The years go by and Abby continues to pursue her beliefs while Erin becomes a more serious scientist.

The two are reunited when Abby puts their old book back on the market at the same time Erin is trying to get tenure at her college. Erin goes to persuade Abby to take the book off the Internet and finds Abby knee-deep in ghostbusting equipment with her new partner,  Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).

Just as they are getting reacquainted, a man (Ed Begley, Jr.) shows up and asks them to investigate a historical building in town that he believes is haunted. The trio go to check it out and encounter a spirit. Erin gets slimed, becomes a true-believer again, and loses her shot at tenure. Abby and Jillian also get kicked out of their much-lower-prestige college so the ladies decide to start up their own business.

And since Ghostbusters come in 4-packs, the ladies are joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), who joins the team for no apparent reason other than she ran into a ghost while checking out a subway tunnel for her previous job. To round things out, and because we’re still gender-bending, Chris Hemsworth joins the crew as their daffy but sexy receptionist Kevin.

As remakes go, “Ghostbusters” is perfectly decent. The new cast is likable enough, there are some decent jokes, the special effects are OK (but surprisingly ghost effects haven’t changed much in 32 years), the story moves at a good clip, and it was nice to see most of the original cast show up for cameos.

On the down side the story was pretty thin and there was an odd moment where they tried to shift gears from comedy to superhero action movie. It didn’t work for me.

I still see no need to remake “Ghostbusters,” but if it had to be done at least it didn’t suck.

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