It’s been hard to ignore the constant bashing the new all-female “Ghostbusters” has been getting since its first trailer came out. From the sexist trolling by fanboys of the original to the most-disliked trailer in YouTube history, it’s not a surprise if you’re a little hesitant to go see the movie.
But I’m here to tell you that this “Ghostbusters” is funny, action-packed, and at times even a little scary. It has all the makings of a summer hit.
That’s thanks to the talents of director Paul Feig and his leads, made up of comedy all-stars Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Leslie Jones.
I’m convinced Feig cannot make a bad comedy (“The Heat” may be the one I dislike the most, and I wouldn’t call it awful). Since becoming one of the go-to comedy directors after “Bridesmaids” was one of the biggest hits of 2011, he has continued to make some of the funniest movies of the last few years, in large part because he’s cast McCarthy in his movies.
But “Ghostbusters” is a change of pace for the duo, as for this one they had to work with a PG-13 rating. Their comedy is perfect for the hard-R crowd, but it was good to see that even when toned down, the laughs keep coming. That’s especially true in the back-and-forth of the four ladies, which is filled with good-hearted teasing.
Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Wiig) are two longtime friends who are also scientists of the paranormal (though Abby is more gung-ho about it). Patty Tolan (Jones) is an MTA worker who has seen a ghost and quickly becomes attached to the others and their ghostbusting ways. While Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann is the tech-savvy one of the bunch and also the scene-stealer.
As with McCarthy as the over-confident Megan in “Bridesmaids,” Feig has made McKinnon’s Holtzmann the go-to when a joke is needed. You know you’ve got the right actor for a part when just a look or quick action from the character causes the audience to laugh.
The wildcard in all of this, for me, is Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, whom the girls hire as a secretary, though it seems he’s never worked a phone in his life (but boy is he good-looking).
Can Hemsworth, best known for playing tough guy Thor in the Marvel movies, hold his own with these pro comics? Turns out, absolutely. Though there are moments when the movie drags, there are others when it kicks into high gear, and the entrance of dimwitted Kevin is one of them. Hemsworth’s low-key jokes and physical comedy are a highlight.
Basically, Feig here has reversed the “hot dumb secretary” role, often designated for a female, to be a hot guy.
The plot for a movie like this is kind of secondary. The enjoyment comes from the interaction of the characters. But there’s a joke toward the end of the movie between Wiig and Andy Garcia, who plays the mayor of New York City, at the height of the movie’s “drama,” that absolutely kills. Keep an eye out for it.
Yes, if you were wondering, the original Ghostbusters all make cameos. Though, honestly, they all feel forced and unnecessary.
But that’s one of the few instances in which I felt the new “Ghostbusters” went out of its lane. The science language and hallmarks from the original certainly are there, but all given an updated feel that made me less nostalgic and more excited for where this new band of ghost hunters will take the franchise.
“Ghostbusters” opens in theatres July 15.
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