Thirty-two years after the comedy box-office hit “Ghostbusters” sparked a catchy Oscar-nominated theme song and the brilliant marketing slogan “Who you gonna call?” this reboot was placed in the clever hands of director Paul Feig… tapping into his razor-tongued comedic talents from Feig’s “Bridesmaids” (2011) and “Spy” (2015) films, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig reunite in this better-than-expected girl power ghost story.
– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF
When the teaser trailer for this 2016 makeover of the original “Ghostbusters” debuted earlier this year, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw. After all, what could this new group of all-female ghost-catchers dial-up on their proton packs that hasn’t already been covered by the paranormal tracking legends Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson? A lot, we find out.
Thirty-two years after the comedy box-office hit “Ghostbusters” sparked a catchy Oscar-nominated theme song and the brilliant marketing slogan “Who you gonna call?” this reboot was placed in the clever hands of director Paul Feig. Immediately tapping into his razor-tongued comedic talents from Feig’s “Bridesmaids” (2011) and “Spy” (2015) films, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig reunite in this better-than-expected girl power ghost story.
“Ghostbusters” delivers one of this summer’s funniest films. It works because it doesn’t try too hard to rebrand a proven winner. In fact, this is a stand-alone, female version of the mega-successful “Ghostbusters”. This film smartly keeps a blistering pace—quickly introducing us to the new quartet of heroines (McCarthy, Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) while stringing together near-continuous wisecracks using short, Saturday Night Live-type of scenes.
A character-driven comedy, “Ghostbusters” exaggerates each ghost-fighter’s outlandish personality and hang-ups in hilarious fashion. This ensemble cast oozes, slimes and blends charisma with chemistry, but never throwing shade on the original foursome. In fact, director Feig and these modern “Ghostbusters” offer several big-screen tributes to their predecessors throughout the movie–although not openly acknowledging their existence from either the 1984 film or its sequel in 1989.
Adding to the complete comedy madness is the scene-stealing performance by lady-killer Chris Hemsworth. Taking a deserved break from the Marvel Comics’ superhero role of “Thor”, Hemsworth confidently squeezes out every ounce of humor from his over-the-top receptionist gig. All superpowers, however, are duly reserved for the girl power in “Ghostbusters”…from ghost shredders to enough mobile scientific equipment to make Christopher Lloyd’s eccentric physicist character in 1985’s “Back to the Future” proud.
Generating laughs while giving a respectful nod to the original ghost-chasers, this remake of “Ghostbusters” is both enjoyable and fresh. It shines brightest when it focuses on the star-power interpersonal relationships and moves quickly through the ghostly plot setup and action scenes. Overall, a film that was better than I had expected.
My only concern is that we’ll see another “Ghostbusters II”, or even more, in the future. I’m not sure New York City or theater audiences could handle that overexposure. But the warning signs are there; stay through the post-film credits to see several Marvel-esque added scenes. And remain in your seats until the last-second to watch a teaser and special cameo appearance.
“Ghostbusters” is rated PG-13, for supernatural action and some crude humor. Its running time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.
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