July 03, 1989 12:00 PM

Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver

Who you gonna call? Try your local videotape dealer, to see if they have copies of the first Ghostbusters to rent.

This comedy sequel is life after death warmed over, with Murray. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson playing the exterminators who specialize in supernatural vermin. Weaver has been de-spooked. She is now a normal woman with a baby whose body an old devil wants to inhabit.

Rick Moranis, also from the original cast, is the freshest part of this film, playing the Ghostbusters’ lawyer in his best neo—Don Knotts mode. When a judge mentions a court order, Moranis is perplexed, then brightens and says, “Oh, you mean the blue thing.” Peter (Heat) MacNicol has his moments too, as Weaver’s boss at a museum where she restores paintings. MacNicol affects a peculiar style of speech—”Why are you came?” (in what sounds like a Russian accent as spoken by Pee-wee Herman). He lusts after Weaver and becomes the familiar of the nasty devil, who comes to life out of a painting.

Director Ivan Reitman rounds up the usual straight men: cops and mayoral aides, and there is a tired, let’s-wrap-it-and-get-paid feeling to the project, including the Aykroyd-Ramis script. They build up a romance between Murray and Weaver (whose husband has run off) but end up with bad vaudeville. “I know I’m just asking for the Big Hurt,” Murray says, then asks Weaver where they went wrong before. “It was when you started introducing me as the old ball and chain,” she says.

The film ends with an only mild variation on the marshmallow man from the original, this time with the Statue of Liberty. It all makes you wish they made those ectoplasmic creep-vacuuming devices for movies, so you could just suck those screaming clunkers right off the screen. Of course, the reservoir might be overflowing by this time anyway. (PG)

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