Ghostbusters Review: The Ladies Kick Butt and Deliver Laughs in an Imperfect Reboot
Long before their movie’s release, the Ghostbusters faced off against a villain much scarier than any evil spirit or possessed marshmallow mascot. The film’s all-female cast, combined with fans’ paranoia about spoil yet another beloved franchise with a sequel, followed by the release of a lame first trailer – the most disliked in YouTube history – culminated in an internet boo-fest of near-supernatural proportions.
But Paul Feig and his undeniably hilarious cast of leading ladies deserve the last laugh. Whatever faults the film has – and there are plenty – all four women proved they can kick as much ass and generate as many laughs as any guy in the action/comedy world.
Saturday Night Live alums Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are scene stealers as a mad scientist and New York City’s friendliest subway employee, respectively. Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig continue to show the magnetic chemistry that put the heart in their 2001 comedy Bridesmaids. Overall, the movie presents a strong message of female friendship without the typical clichés and love triangles. And while there are no boyfriends to get in the way, Chris Hemsworth delivers plenty of testosterone-fueled sex appeal as the ladies’ himbo secretary-turned-demonic vessel.
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Besides the obvious gender reversal, the new Ghostbusters is very much like Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd’s 1984 Ghostbusters. The opening scene in particular, in which Silicon Valley’s Zach Woods is chased by an angry, Victorian-era ghost, feels eerily similar to the original’s iconic library scene. But Feig’s incarnation takes the franchise in an unapologetically lighter, goofier direction. For instance, those unsettling devil dogs from the original, hand designed by the legendary visual effects artist John Bruno, have been replaced by cartoonish, CGI parade floats and an army of subway ghost rats.
That wacky vibe makes for a film that never takes itself too seriously and helps cover up for other disappointments (like a poorly developed villain). The result is a movie seemingly self-aware that its heroes’ biggest obstacle is entertaining the audience, not defeating the nominal bad guy. One scene, in which the Ghostbusters crack jokes about YouTube comment trolls, takes the haters head-on.
But why bother hating? It’s easier to just climb aboard the Ecto-1 and have a good time.