Ghostbusters (2016) Review
Paul Feig and Katie Dippold
By virtue of being a moderately funny movie, Ghostbusters 2016 has now ended sexism, racism, cops shooting black peopleisms, cops getting shot by peopleisms, every problem in the 2016 Summer Olympics, and has now emerged as a viable 3rd candidate in this fall’s Presidential election.
It also shows, that for as much whining/”outrage” that goes on during your average visit to the Interwebs, it carries about as much actual cachet as a People’s Choice Award or a Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Award.
That said, GB16 is diverting enough to make you want to spend 2 hours in an air-conditioned theater in one of the weakest movie summers in a long time. It gives you something to do instead of possibly getting hit by a car while playing Pokemon Go.
Those of you who know me know that the original Ghostbusters is one of my favorite films of all time, and even to this day still holds up relatively well. I’d like to think I’m not one of those insecure males who’s threatened by a movie getting remade with an all-female cast considering that those stupid Hangover movies got 2 sequels (one of which also featured Melissa McCarthy).
During a screening of the original Ghostbusters, I delivered a baby and the mother named it Egon.
Does GB16 hold a candle to the original? Not really, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good enough movie on its own. More about that later…
GB16 has the same basic blueprint as the original, with more than just the obvious differences.
We meet Professor Erin Gilbert (Kirsten Wiig, still making my spell-check incredibly angry with that extra ‘I’ in her last name). She’s trying to get tenure in her prestigious college but there’s a roadblock in her path to academic glory: She and her friend Abby (Melissa McCarthy, still making me angry for having to sit through The Boss) wrote a book about ghosts years ago that Erin would like expunged but Abby would like re-released to the public to generate more money.
Erin wants Abby to take their book off Amazon.
Abby needs money to fund her ghost studies that she’s continued with Jillian Holtzman (SNL’s Kate McKinnon, underutilized in her first major film role), the ‘Q‘ of the group.
Abby agrees to take the book offline if she goes with them to investigate a possible ghost sighting.
The three of them visit a mansion. They see a ghost. Erin gets slimed.
Thus, the Ghostbusters are (re)born. They’re actually called something else but I didn’t take the time to remember what, but we all know it’s the Ghostbusters.
Erin quits her job as a professor. Jillian and Abby steal the equipment at the college where they’ve been working and go into business for themselves. They even take the time to hire an implausibly dim receptionist named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth, starring in another 80s remake) who can’t seem to answer phones correctly.
Oh yeah, and there’s the black Ghostbuster Patty (SNL’s Leslie Jones, good in small doses). Unlike the black Ghostbuster from the original movies, she actually serves a purpose.
Good thing too, because paranormal activity is escalating all over New York City, much to the chagrin of the Mayor (Andy Garcia) who definitely doesn’t want to be compared to the Mayor in Jaws.
During a screening of the original Ghostbusters, I stopped a bank robbery in broad daylight. The bank wanted to rename the bank in my honor, but I had them change the name of the bank to The Useless Black Ghostbuster Bank. In 2001, I had it changed to the Useless Ron Weaselly Bank. In 2012, I had it changed to The Hawkeye Bank.
What Works with Ghostbusters 2016
- In a smaller role than you’d expect, Chris Hemsworth gets the funniest role of his career as a himbo that makes you wonder how he possibly survives in world considering how stupid his character is. His “Interview” scene, on a laugh-by-laugh basis, is the funniest in the movie, and he even gets the best part of the closing credits.
- Yes, the initial trailers were underwhelming, but, unlike most trailers, they don’t give away most of the jokes. Case in point: Last week’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
- Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy director Paul Feig (who also wrote with Katie Dippold) acquits himself rather nicely in his first PG-13 movie, and does what most directors can’t seem to: rein in Melissa McCarthy onscreen persona so that she’s not abrasively unlikable and not very funny (Tammy, the aforementioned Boss)
- The only improvement GB16 has over the original is in the ghosts themselves. Not really surprising, considering the technology available. You’ll see very familiar ghosts, along with some marvelous CG creations, one of who maybe shouldn’t have been revealed in the trailer.
- Much better than Ghostbusters II, not that that’s saying much at all
What Doesn’t Work With Ghostbusters 2016
- Ghostbusters 1984- (spoiler alert) I’m not sure it was the filmmakers’ intention to distance itself from the original, but in the long game it might not have been a great idea to (spoiler) have every remaining member of the original cast make cameos. The cameos themselves aren’t a bad thing (I like Annie Potts’ the best), but every time they do appear you are reminded about how much better the original is. Nostalgia goggles not even needed as the um, specter, of the original haunts almost every frame
- That awful song sung by Fall Out Boy with Missy Elliot- I switched stations the first time I heard it on the radio. I winced when I heard it in the movie. One of these days in the distant future when the President is an Instagram Filter, I might find the courage to listen to the entire thing without retching
- An ill-defined villain played with nary a hint of menace by Neil Casey (not really scary unless cast as a child molesting priest) with a thin plot involving “Ley Lines.” Yes, you read that right. Fortunately, the movie is funny enough to skirt around the fact that there’s barely an evil presence in the movie, not counting trolls.
(Spoiler) You may want to stay through the end credits where that mistake has the possibility of being remedied
Men of a certain age may have to get over their issues and buy an expensive car or trying dating your daughter’s cheerleader best friend or even your daughter herself Woody Allen, because Ghostbusters 2016, sorry-not-sorry to say, is a good movie. How much of an D-Bag do you have to be not to want to laugh for 2 hours, especially in a universe where the moronic Independence Day sequel is allowed to exist?
It’s not like there’s been much else to enjoy this summer…
During A screening of the original Ghostbusters I performed an emergency circumcision. That circumcision is still used in medical textbooks and has over a million views on YouTube.