Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)
Release date: 7/15/2016
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Running time: 116 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Chris Hemsworth, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Neil Casey, Cecily Strong, Andy Garcia
No movie this summer has caused as much of a stir as Ghostbusters, the female-led reboot of the supernatural comedy classic from 1984. From receiving the record for most dislikes for a movie trailer on YouTube to cries of sexism, opinions formed long before it opened. But how does the actual movie, directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy), hold up to scrutiny?
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a Columbia University physics professor who once wrote a book about paranormal activity with her friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). The unpopular book becomes available on Amazon again by Abby, who now works at a technical school with Dr. Jiillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) as she continues to study the paranormal. Rounding out the group is MTA employee Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), who joins the team without any scientific background. Filling in as their receptionist is Kevin (Chris Hemsworth, hilarious), a clueless Australian hunk who wears frameless glasses. The quartet soon adopts matching suits and use gizmos to fight apparitions with after phone calls come of ghost sightings.
2016 Ghostbusters is much better than the previews suggest, but not as great as it should have been after how funny Paul Feig's previous collaborations with Melissa McCarthy were. The villain (Neil Casey), a bellhop bent on releasing a ghost apocalypse upon New York City, is a flimsy antagonist. Keeping things enjoyable, even when the film becomes bogged down in special effects, are the stars, who play well off of each other. In an interesting move, Wiig and McCarthy are made the "straight women," and in a humorous bit of role-reversal, Hemsworth is the resident "dumb blonde."
Ghostbusters does nothing to tarnish the original. Fans of the original will appreciate the nods towards the earlier film (most of the surviving cast members and some of the ghosts from the original make cameos). Only an obnoxious cover of the theme song by Fall Out Boy featuring Missy Elliot falls flat. The movie may not be the Ghostbusters update we were asking for, but director Feig and his talented stars have turned in a reboot we can gladly give a passing grade to.
Stick around for the end credits for a sequel-teasing tag.