Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is close to being a tenured physics professor at Columbia University, when Erin’s friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) puts a book about ghosts that she co-wrote on Amazon. Erin wants Abby to take the book off Amazon, and visits Abby and her cohort, Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) and they are busy making various ectoplasmic blasting and containment devices. Erin gets a tip about a ghost sighting at the Aldridge mansion, and reluctantly goes with Abby, and Holtzman to investigate. The ghost is real, and Abby’s video goes viral, costing Erin her job. The three women scientists open up an office to find out if more possible paranormal events are being reported. They are soon visited by a former MTA worker, Patty Tolan, (Leslie Jones) who’s seen a ghost in a subway track, and wants to join the team. The team is completed by a handsome but dim-witted receptionist named Kevin. (Chris Hemsworth)
Soon, the Ghostbusters are inundated with calls about reports of ghosts, and spirits of all kinds, because Rowan North (Neil Casey) is building a vortex that will bring the ghosts from the paranormal realm to the earthly realm. Can the team of four stop the vortex from opening and keep New York City safe?
I hate sequels and reboots, but I like this movie. Low expectations must have had something to do with it. But to my surprise, this Ghostbusters was genuinely funny, and made me laugh, and can stand alone if the viewer never saw the original movie. The dimwitted male receptionist is a nice role reversal, and the friendship between Abby and Erin is sweet, and believable. Ghostbusters is far from perfect, sometimes the ladies seem scared of the ghosts , that’s a little stereotypical sexism on the writers’ part, some scenes are directly lifted from the original movie, and for a movie that tried so hard to be a stand-alone movie, that is particularly annoying. Finally, the product placement is obvious and unnecessary. But the cameos are well-placed and add to the fun, and the ending is more Poltergeist than Ghostbusters, which was interesting. The 2016 version will never be as good as the original, Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis had a really creative original idea, but this movie builds on the solid foundation of Ramis and Ackroyd’s imaginative ideas. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this version was.
The actors make any shortcomings in this script disappear. Kristen Wiig is incredibly funny and even touching when talking about being teased for believing in ghosts. Melissa McCarthy plays a likeable character for a change, and not the angry character with a chip on her shoulder, the chemistry between her and Wiig, first seen in Bridesmaids, is here in abundance too. Kate McKinnon is playing a combination of the Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis scientific jargon spouting physics geek, but she injects Holtzman with a spirit and spunk all her own, and made the character new. And Leslie Jones, another SNL alum is funny as the non-scientific MTA worker. Chris Hemswoth is my favorite in this cast, who knew he could do comedy? Who knew he could act? But he is funny, and can act. Just kidding, I knew he could act from the movie Rush.
The direction relies a great deal of the ghost special effects, but they’re not that far removed from the effects in the 1980’s movie, and they shouldn’t be, this movie is not about special effects. The director gets good performances from his cast and keeps the pace moving and the laughs coming. I watched it in 3D, but I didn’t see the 3D used to great effect. Still in all, a good, not great film.
Ghostbusters: Get into the spirit!