film reel image

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016 * 1/2 Stars

GhostbustersDirector: Paul Feig
Year: 2016
Rated PG-13
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon

Mayor Bradley (played by Andy Garcia) getting offended when someone likens him to mayor Larry Vaughn from the movie Jaws. College dean Thomas Shanks (played by Steve Higgins), finding new ways to give people the middle finger. Sadly, these instances don't directly involve any of the main characters. And sadly, these are the only times I chuckled during 2016's Ghostbusters (my latest review).

Anyway, they say good movies should never be remade. Such is the case here.

Now if you think I'm gonna compare this patch job reboot to the original film from thirty-two years ago, well you'd be correct. In truth, Ghostbusters doesn't try to be like the first installment. Guess what though, that just makes it feel like an even more inferior product.

Paul Feig directs "Ghost" and does what I feared he would do. He for reasons known, turns it into a Melissa McCarthy vehicle. The dialogue is grating, the improvisation is overwhelming, the lead actresses don't really click together, there are minimal laughs, and McCarthy's voice sounds like someone with a bad cold. Who you gonna call? How about the guys from 1984 instead.

When Ivan Reitman helmed the original Ghostbusters, he created cinema that combined the eerie and scary with the humorous. He had Bill Murray providing one-liners and quips. He also inserted a foreboding, musical soundtrack to add to the film's epic statue. When the dust settled and the box office receipts came in, a perfect summer blockbuster was born. With this new Ghostbusters, nothing seems to be at stake. Feig generates something stock about four woman teaming up together as ghost catchers. Their story is laughably rushed. By the time all the apparitions and demons have been eliminated via Times Square (spoiler), there's no one to really root for.

Basically with the first Ghostbusters flick, the people of New York identified with their heroes. A close relationship (and a romance) was formed between the two. With this modern day Ghostbusters, the girls with the proton packs seem alienated from most citizens in the "Big Apple". They do their job, snap at heavy metal concert goers, and complain about receiving lousy Chinese takeout. It just doesn't work. Bottom line: Kristin Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, and Leslie Jones aren't at all cooler than Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, and Ernie Hudson. I'm not saying that because I'm a guy. Heck, it's just a fact.

Granted, 2016's "Ghost" does provide an upgrade in the special effects department. The phantoms may not be scary but they have a unique look to them (kind of like metallic cartoon characters). Also, there's more ghosts this time (plus the return of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man) and more disgusting slime than in the first Ghostbusters. My problem with this current re-imagining is the weak yet tech-savvy script, the hapless cameos by stars of the original (Aykroyd, Hudson, Murray, and Sigourney Weaver), and the notion that the new ghost wrangler babes rent out an apartment (above a rundown restaurant) for $21,000 a month. Huh? In this flick's nearly two hour running time, they don't make any money in their paranormal profession.

Neither scary nor funny, Ghostbusters concludes by mimicking a flash mob. It thinks it's a success and blatantly begs for a sequel by the time the end credits roll. Somehow somewhere, the great Harold Ramis is turning in his grave. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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