Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey, Andy Garcia, Cecily Strong, Charles Dance,
After years of trying to get a third Ghostbusters film together, comedy director Paul Feig (The Heat, Spy) bypassed Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, with a greenlight from the studio for an all-female Ghostbusters. The problem with this reboot isn’t the all-female cast, if I had my preference women would have all the leading roles in every genre. Feig makes a certain type of movie, Melissa McCarthy movies, they are a one note team. Even working within the boundaries of an established, iconic franchise, McCarthy’s Abby Yates is a variation of Susan Cooper from Spy, or Mullins from The Heat. McCarthy’s apparent contractual prat falls are written into Ghostbusters. Even Wiig is playing a similar version to her most redundant comedy routine. The 1984 original relied heavily on Saturday Night Live regulars to fill the cast, so does the reboot. However, it’s current SNL cast member McKinnon who makes this reboot bearable.
Erin Gilbert (Wiig) has been fired from her job teaching modern physics at Columbia, when a video surfaces of her and fellow scientists Abby Yates (McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), investigating the paranormal. They begin their new careers as Ghostbusters for NYC, tracking, trapping, and exploring the increased class 4 apparition activity occurring in the city. MTA officer Patty Tolan (Jones) points the Ghostbusters to activity happening beneath the subway before joining the team herself and providing the group with transportation. The more ghosts they capture, the more uneasy the city government becomes, trying to discredit their work. Rowan North (Casey) is the weirdo responsible for traveling around the city and unleashing all the undead, but when his plan is fully realized, the city reluctantly only has one call to make…
The problem with this reboot isn’t the all-female cast it's Feig who only makes one certain type of movie, Melissa McCarthy movies, they are a one note team.
Feig’s Ghostbusters is not intended as a sequel to the original two films, nor does it borrow or reference the original, they are two completely separate entities. With that being said, what Feig does is franchise milking, his concepts are hardly original, simply borrowing from material that already exists, altering or updating it for mainstream viewers. The plot here is a modern carbon copy of the original by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, only gender-flipped. Bill Murray adlibbed the majority of his dialogue in the original, Aykroyd gave an embarrassingly script read performance, but the ladies here can’t be faulted for their acting ability. In fact, McKinnon is top notch, stealing every single scene that isn’t weighted by McCarthy or Wiig (when she licks those guns, the crowd goes wild). What she does here isn’t unlike what McCarthy did in Bridesmaids, as we were first introduced to the Mike & Molly star. McKinnon’s comedic style hasn’t yet been over exploited in feature film, so many audiences are being introduced to her for the first time.
Ghostbusters 2016 makes the mistake of so many big budget summer movies, taking on saving the entire world/city, rather than focusing on perhaps one particular case or situation. To be fair the original film did the same, and re-watching it 32 years later, it’s not a movie that holds up with time. There was a technical aspect to the original script (i.e. Egon explaining how they trap and contain the ghosts) that gave that film a certain grounding, despite the atrocious special effects. Feig’s version lacks the spook factor, relies too heavily on both special effects (although they are very good) and comedy. There are little to zero moments played without a humorous spin. As with previous, Feig’s script relies heavily on pop-culture references and the audience’s association to get the jokes. More than once the script takes aim at critics and the controversy surrounding the all-female cast within the story. The controversy will only aid in the curiosity for this reboot, affording it a sequel, right after Feig finishes The Heat 2.
McKinnon is the only real stand out in a film that feels more like another Paul Feig creation than a franchise reboot.