Twitter review: One word – Boring. Which is a shame, because I wanted to like this film
Spoiler-free review: When I went into this film, I wanted to enjoy the film. I was not one of those who kept complaining about a team of women instead of men. I wanted to be entertained. I do like the original film a lot, but I’m totally open to a new take on the film. Sadly, within a few minutes, I was overcome by a feeling of boredom.
The new film is roughly the same as the original film. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are Abby and Erin, a couple of academics who believe in ghosts.Their first experience with a ghost in heritage building in New York indirectly leads to them losing their jobs. Working with Kate McKinnon’s Holtzman, the three set up shop hoping to catch more ghosts. After New York MTA clerk Patty (Leslie Jones) joins them, they eventually are confronted with a madman who wants to fill New York with a bunch of ghosts he wants to control.
The biggest problem I had is that so many of the jokes simply fall flat. Besides this, a good deal of the film is also devoted to a cute but extremely dumb male secretary Kevin played by Chris Hemsworth. Look, I can get dumb humor. Airplane! is one of my favorite films. But all the jokes revolving around Kevin felt like they were lifted from a bad 1980s film. Get rid of Kevin, and you get rid of at least 15 minutes of film, which would be a good thing.
Patty is also a bit of a waste of a character. Nothing against Leslie Jones, she does get a few good lines, but it didn’t make any sense that her character would give up her job to hang out with a group of women that earn zero money. Which is the biggest thing that kept throwing me out of the film. I kept wondering how the women were able to afford anything, having lost their jobs (compare this to the original film, where Ray had to put up a triple mortgage to his family house to finance their new business, and they were down to ‘the last of the petty cash’ before they got their first job).
The only real redeeming thing for me is Kate McKinnon. Her Holtzman is funny, has all of the good jokes in the film, and consistently acts a bit goofy. I would love to see a film with just her character building stuff to catch ghosts and test them out. Sadly, she’s saddled with what feels like three straight-women (not meaning the possible lesbian feelings Holtzman might have). I wish that there were more things for me to laugh about with this film.
Spolier-filled review: There are also a couple of other major problems I have with this film. During the climax of the film, I never really felt like the foursome were in true mortal danger. I hate having to keep comparing this to the original film, but in the original film, there was the real possibility that crossing the streams would kill them all, but that was the only way to stop Zuul. In this film, I never really felt like any of the characters should have been in such danger. When the main ghost takes a shot at Abby and Erin, I also wondered how he could have grabbed on to Abby – it took so long for him to grab her, I wondered why she couldn’t have ducked to the side after pushing Erin out of the way. Even when Erin jumps into a closing portal to save Abby, I still never felt like either person was taking the scene seriously.
The other problem I had is the cameos that pop up during the film. A bit like The A-Team film, most of these cameos are blink and you’ll miss them (in fact, I still don’t remember spotting Sigourney Weaver in the film). Bill Murray has the biggest cameo, playing a professor who publicly denies the existence of ghosts, and goes so far to visit the Ghostbusters in their
restaurant headquarters. After being prodded into seeing the ghost they allegedly caught, Erin opens the trap, releasing the ghost and causing the professor to be thrown to his death. There’s a story online that Bill Murray said he would only do a Ghostbusters 3 if his character Peter would be killed within the first 5 minutes. Well, he got his wish, and I hope Bill is laughing his way all the way to the bank. I just wish I could be laughing as much at this film.