Okay, cards on the table – I loved the original Ghostbusters, I even have the sequel on Blu-ray and have played the Xbox game. I possess the soundtrack, an original t-shirt, even a Ghostbusters belt – so, yes, I’m a fan. Hence I was excited to hear the franchise was getting an injection of fresh blood; even more encouraged that it was getting a new spin from Bridesmaids director Paul Fieg, namely that it’d feature an all-girl cast. Yep, the PKE meter was registering off the charts.
It’s a pity a certain lack of humour and charm in the new Ghostbusters brought the meter needle back down.
Set in a New York where the paranormal activities of 1985 never happened, Erin Gilbert’s (Kirsten Wiig) past comes flashing back to haunt her as she reconnects with old friend Abby (Melissa McCarthy) who is researching paranormal activity in the city with fellow ‘scientist’ Jillian (Kate McKinnon). The trio are joined by transit worker, Patty (Leslie Jones), and a clueless Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) to investigate deeper into the phenomenon. This all leads to a possessed Times Square, with a battle against a giant specter. Sounds familiar? It should. The film follows the same formula as it’s predecessor but forgets one important ingredient – the jokes! There are no laugh-out loud moments, no one-liners, and very little charm.
Many reviews will have you believe this movie is an attack on men, and sure, there is some ammunition for that argument if you want to be so small-minded. The problem with this film is not that it’s an all female cast – that is actually it’s strength, or at least it should have been. The issue is the lack of memorable comedic moments. The crowded theatre I saw this with was not laughing together. Sadly, you could pinpoint where the occasional chuckle was emitting. It’s as if Fieg, who shares the writing duties with Katie Dippold, was relying on his cast to improvise and create the gags on set but instead they stuck to the script.
There is some fun to be had, though. The ghosts look amazing (some of the effects were done here in Australia), and Hemsworth looks like having fun playing dim-witted receptionist Kevin. Plus there are cameos from many of the original cast and ghoul brigade.
Still, the only thing that really carried me through this movie was the good will from the previous two. Michael Jepson
‘Ghostbusters’ is currently in cinemas.