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Picks and Pans Review: Ghostbusters

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Forget the bad taste, bathroom humor and tacky sight gags: Ghostbusters is irresistible nonsense. Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray (the Saturday Night Live alumni appearing on the big screen together for the first time) play off each other with such prankish assurance that all is redeemed. Along with pal Harold (Meatballs) Ramis, the boys portray university parapsychologists tossed out of academia for their unorthodox ways. Going into business to serve the public’s “supernatural elimination” needs, the team, sporting proton packs and neutrana wand, tools around Manhattan in an Ectomobile (it’s not supposed to make sense). Gorgeous Sigourney Weaver is one of their first customers; the fridge in her apartment is a gateway to hell. Psychic phenomena run amok. The ghosts are an untidy lot—they cram leftovers, belch and spew goo on everything in sight. But it’s the Aykroyd-Murray high jinks that provide inspired lunacy. Facing a spirit with a firm “Freeze, potato face,” Aykroyd is a hoot. And whether it’s a come-on (“I make it a rule never to sleep with possessed people”) or a complaint (“It slimed me, it slimed me”), Murray’s delivery is a fail-safe mechanism for laughter. Director Ivan (Stripes) Reitman keeps the Aykroyd-Ramis screenplay zipping right along, creating something like Abbott & Costello Meet the Exorcist. Aykroyd and Murray make the perfect summer tonic for raising spirits. (PG)