Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016) – review

The idea of a reboot of Ghostbusters did not thrill me.  When I saw the commercial it looked gimmicky and screamed “cash-grab.” Still, I went in hoping for the best from this movie that stared a group of funny women and headed by a competent comedic director.  The movie is okay but flawed. There are some funny moments that make the film likable but they are marred by an underwhelming story and poorly written characters.

Dr. Erin Gilbert, played by Kristin Wiig, is a physics teacher attempting to gain tenure. A former book she published with Dr. Abby Yates, played by Melissa McCarthy, is causing problems with her credibility. When Gilbert confronts Yates they team up with engineer Holtzmann, played by Kate McKinnon, to investigate a haunted mansion. Upon discovery of the ghost, they work to trap the spiritual entities. Patty Tolan, played by Leslie Jones, an MTA worker that has witnessed the paranormal first hand, eventually joins them.  Together they must face an evil nerd who wants to create an undead apocalypse.

In the original film, the Ghostbusters had quirky personality types that play well against a world that plays it straight through the film. In the Paul Feig Ghostbusters world everybody is quirky so the main characters need to be VERY quirky. This aspect comes off a bit annoying. The character of Holtzmann was painful to watch. This was disappointing since McKinnon is amazing on SNL. The secretary Kevin, played by Chris Hemsworth, is hunky and over-the-top stupid. Considering that Ghostbusters has a very strong girl power message it felt out of place by having Erin drool over the pretty but incompetent secretary.

The acting was enjoyable. Abby and Erin do their parts well but the character of Patty was surprisingly good. She was upbeat and the character was not too intense. The evil nerd that causes all the spiritual mischief is amusing as well, though his motivation was a bit trite. He is basically evil because he was picked on. The idea of a vexed, angry geek is a lot less threating than a Babylonian god. There are many cameos, which sometimes work well and fit into the plot and other times take you out of the movie by knocking you on the head as if saying “Remember Ghostbusters!”  

As a whole this version of Ghostbusters is okay. It might be worth a rental if you are really curious. It is not nearly the caliber of the original. It feels a lot more like an SNL sketch that was stretched for time. It has moments that make it enjoyable but it still comes off as a gimmicky as a concept as Blues Brothers 2000.  If the mood “meh” had a face it might look like the reboot of Ghostbusters.

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