Misdirected Hate – Ghostbusters (2016)

Calm down, Youtube.  Everybody knows the original Ghostbusters, the gang from ’84 that stood up in the face of the paranormal (they’re original if you don’t count the TV series from the 70’s, but I digress).  Getting the reboot treatment, we have the same basic premise with a brand new cast, and guess what: they’re all WOMEN.  This movie has already faced a ton of backlash, and it has the notoriety of having the most disliked trailer in Youtube history.  People get so defensive whenever anything from their childhood gets ruffled, which is exactly what happened here.  I like Ghostbusters as much as the next guy, but I never harbored hatred for them remaking this movie.  Let me just jump out and tell you: this movie certainly has its fair share of problems, but the one item that isn’t an issue is that this is the all female cast; it’s actually one of the strongest things this movie has going for it, and I personally believe there is a lot of thinly veiled sexism running rampant around these parts.

1I don’t even consider myself to be a fan of this movie, but I would go to bat for it in this department.

I think these girls have a lot of chemistry together.  I am a well-know Melissa McCarthy hater; I don’t think she’s untalented, I just find her vulgar crass shtick to be one note, and the quality movies she does make like St. Vincent are few and far between.  She’s actually not bad here, and she and Kristen Wiig share a good back and forth together.  I like Leslie Jones as well, but I wasn’t a giant fan of Kate McKinnon in this; she didn’t feel like she was written to be a real person, and came across more of a cartoon character more than anything.  I also really like Chris Hemsworth here, who is playing this airhead of epic proportions, and I’ve never seen him play a character like this before; it’s unexpected, very similar to Jon Hamm’s character in 30 Rock, and it leads to a number of this movie’s funniest moments.

2It’s almost like he’s Thor’s Clark Kent.

What ends up being the major issue with this movie is the fact that this is a studio movie.  When you think of the definition of studio movie, you probably think of lots of interference by big wigs who think they know best, trying to inject their own personal touches whenever they can.  It ends up feeling like they never believed in the ability of these girls, and they needed to.  Remember how much advertising for the Avengers movie there was in Iron Man 2?  That’s the same exact feeling I got here, and there is so many references and callbacks to the original Ghostbusters that it gets distracting.  I know they thought that it was fan service, but it ends up feeling more like awkward crowbarring than anything.

3I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, so I will say that this would have been stronger if it was just this cast.

This started off stronger than I expected, but the more it went on, the more I was ready for it to be over.  I got light chuckles, but nothing big.  There are 3-D effects that don’t really translate all that well to the small screen, but that’s a nitpick compared to the other shortcomings of this movie.  There’s a lot of overexplaining, and I wish they had the conviction to go in their own direction without feeling obligated to try and please everybody, because when you do that, you end up pleasing nobody.

Ghostbusters (2016) **1/2

– Critic for Hire


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