“Ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts”
The ‘sheboot’ is not a long term solution to the lack of females leading comedies. They can only ever scratch the surface. But this film will re-introduce the obvious notion that funny women should lead funny films. Frankly, I lost track of the amount of times I laughed at Ghostbusters within the first twenty minutes. It’s a riot.
Wiig and McCarthy are two of the wittiest actors working on the big screen today, and their utter comfort around each other is palpable. In parallel roles to Murray and Aykroyd, they play scientists who believe in the otherworldly, and their dysfunction frames every scene. It helps that they’ve two writers who know exactly how to script them.
Even so, they are overshadowed by those they facilitate. McKinnon is written and billed as the star of this show, given free, extended rein to be as odd and awkward as she sees fit. It’s a credit to her ability that she almost makes it look natural. Leslie Jones is the real scene-stealer though; her laugh-to-line ratio is through the roof. She does well to break out of her role – her talent and the script raising her much higher than Ernie Hudson was afforded all those years ago. Her street smarts are the hook, but her book smarts are the charm. She is the driving force behind the team, and often the humour.
This excellent quartet can only fill the screen so far. Jokes and quips are relentless when in the absence of action, as the four supercharged leads delight. Our new incarnation follows the spine of the original, overlapping just enough to feel familiar without dwelling in the nostalgia pool. But it doesn’t go far enough.
The new plot doesn’t push the realms of what it to be expected, sticking too close to the instructions. Feig and Dippold are overly-cautious, treading on the eggshells of expectation, but it all feels too timid. Surprises don’t come, seemingly substituted for jump scares, and some scenes seem tempered by the 12A certificate. That’s okay though, this film isn’t for me, it’s for the coming generation of young filmgoers who deserve to see funny women doing what they do best.
Ghostbusters settled my fears. Thankfully, it does a very impressive job at standing alone, if it does come off a little lightweight. The quartet stands eye-to-eye with their opposite numbers and the paranormal nasties are just the right balance of spooky, scary and silly. It also helps that it is freakin’ hilarious, even if a lot of great material was left on the cutting room floor. It won’t be a cherished memory in 2048, but it’s fun, and on the bottom line, that’s all that really matters. It is Summer after all.
Image courtesy of cnet and leader gamer respectively.