THIS IS WHAT WE’RE ALL ANGRY ABOUT?
By Sam Jones
DIRECTOR: Paul Feig
PRODUCERS: Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal
WRITERS: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes
GENRE: Action Comedy
STARRING: Melissa McCarthy, Kirsten Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth
So it’s finally upon us folks. After months of anticipation, wailing and gnashing of teeth and endless controversy, the most bizarrely politically fuelled big budget action comedy of the year has arrived. And after everything that’s gone on around this thing, having finally seen the fucking movie, all I can really say is:
Really, over this? Reeeeeeeeeeeeallllllly?
So, onto to the movie itself: Ghostbusters centres around the titular Ghostbusters (as one would expect), and their quest to prove the existence of ghosts, this time consisting of disgraced physicist Erin Gilbert (Kirsten Wiig), her childhood friend Abbey Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Abbey’s odd new partner Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and street-savvy subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Initially a soon-to-be-tenured physicist, Erin loses out on her tenure when Abbey starts selling a book they co-wrote on ghosts. An attempt to get Abbey to pull the book leads Erin, Abbey, and Holtzmann to investigate a supposed haunting, leading to the discovery that, yes, ghosts are real, leading to the trio (joined later by Patty) to form the Ghostbusters.
Ghostbusters doesn’t exactly get off on the right foot: the first 20 or 30 minutes or so of the film largely consisted of some set-up that was very shaky and questionable in its execution: there’s an especially questionable amount of time spent building up the backstory of one particular ghost that doesn’t really lead to anything, and a lot of very hit-and-miss low-brow humour gets thrown out that does the opening part of the film no favors. Once it got past that initial dodgy opening, however, the film starts to pick up some momentum and starts throwing out some genuinely fun moments and sequences, and all builds to an exciting final action sequence that’s a genuine joy to watch. By far the new Ghostsbusters biggest strength was its leading cast: all four of the ghost-busting women worked well together and turned in admirable performances, with special mention going to Kate McKinnon, who is this humble internet loser’s opinion, was the stand-out star of the film, consistently delivering the most enjoyment in terms of comedic moments and performances.
That being said, there were more than a few things that didn’t quite work, most of which was to do with the film’s script: as already alluded to, the film’s sense of humour is rather hit-and-miss: a mixture of not overly inspired low-brow toilet humour and apparent moments of very touch-and-go improv that tends to miss a few more times than it lands, which often times felt far too forced to be genuinely humorous. This is particularly true of Chris Hemsworth’s character, the Ghostbusters’ lunk-headed secretary Kevin, who isn’t just dumb, but is so ridiculously idiotic and brain dead that he becomes truly cartoonish by the end of the film and was completely unwelcome. That’s not to mention the many other missed opportunities throughout the film, notably with its major antagonist, whom is a fairly obvious take-off of the stereotypical neck-bearded, internet-dwelling man-baby. While there is was great potential with that character to be a clever little deconstruction that particular variety of internet shit-weasel, the character instead just turns out to be a very hollow, surface-level parody that does little to entertain. And speaking of jokes at the expense of this film’s toxic backlash, Ghostbusters was packed up with more than a few of them: and while these weren’t terrible, they felt often-times a tad forced: while I don’t blame Feig and company for wanting to hit that particular nail on the head, the execution could have been much stronger, and far less contrived that it turned out to be.
So, I’m not gonna blow sunshine up all your arses and tell you that this was an amazing film worthy of its predecessor or anything like that, but at the same time it was hardly worth all the rage and salt that poured out of the Internet’s filthy, unwashed gullet over it: was it, at best, a solid, if unremarkable, big summer action movie with hit-and-miss comedy that’s redeemed by some fun scenes and performances that make the ride enjoyable.
So I guess that’s a recommendation, sort of. Although honestly, after all that’s happened, the idea of recommending this to anyone seems a bit pointless seeing as how there’s likely droves of people whose view on this thing is gonna be set no matter what I say here: that’s not to say that I’m saying “don’t watch it”, just that regardless of whether that was what I was saying or not, it wouldn’t likely change any minds.
Well, I liked it anyway. There you go, how’s that for the most indecisive, unsatisfying Final Verdict I’ve ever written?