‘Ghostbusters’ needs more than a female twist

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I ain’t afraid of no “Ghostbusters” remake. Should you be?

This reboot of the 1984 classic has been pretty much condemned from day one. Was it due to the all female twist? Or maybe people were against remakes in general? Perhaps internet movie nerds just wanted to jump on the bandwagon of yet another movie stealing their precious childhood memories. Probably all of the above. So, does the new “Ghostbusters” just add fuel to the geek fire or is it actually good enough to shut them up and have them crawl back behind their monitors and keyboards?

First of all, the cast works. Comedy film veterans Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are solid, despite reining in their usual antics and playing more grounded characters. Their tempered performances actually allow Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon to shine and both make the most of the opportunity. Leslie Jones could have been yet another obnoxiously loud caricature but she smartly avoids the easy way to play her character and she has true purpose in joining the group due to her knowledge of the city. And I’ll admit, I have a huge crush on McKinnon. I absolutely love her. She’s always been my favorite on “Saturday Night Live” and I totally embraced the weirdness she brought to the role. Definitely a turn-on. Oh yeah, and that Thor guy is in this too, putting a male twist on the dumb blonde cliche.

The story doesn’t veer too far away from the original but presents some great opportunities for the cast to elicit laughs. Their combination of wit and physical comedy make for some truly laugh out loud moments and the action scenes are entertaining with some better than average CGI. I especially loved it when McKinnon went Chow Yun Fat on the ghosts.

But the film overall doesn’t really present anything new. Any remake needs to bring something fresh to the table in order to get film fans interested but it looks like all the new “Ghostbusters” has to offer is a huge dose of estrogen. That gimmick may be an interesting tweak, but not enough to warrant a remake. There’s a lot of areas where the tone falls flat and I felt myself wishing that the energy level could be sustained at a higher level throughout. I also left the film wishing that there had been more actual busting of ghosts but then a friend reminded me that the original didn’t have too much actual busting as well, outside of a montage sequence. That’s where I think the original’s high energy and fun level covered for the lack of actual ghost busting where it wasn’t even noticeable.

The villain is forgettable and his motivation is never explained. The original cast members also make cameo appearances, but they are forced and almost cringeworthy.

Yet despite all of the negatives, the film isn’t bad and has its share of funny moments while achieving an acceptable level of fun. Younger filmgoers who’ve never seen the original may actually love it. But for those who have seen the original, comparisons inevitably will be made and the film certainly falls short. But it could have been a lot worse. I originally wanted to score the film a 6/10 but then I thought of Kate McKinnon and I’ll need to add another point for good measure.

Final Score: 7 / 10