Alright, let’s make this short and sweet because I’ve got a lunch date and quite frankly the internet is not a place I enjoy being on lately. The film Ghostbusters was released into theaters last week and concurrently mine and everyone else's childhood was promptly destroyed... Well, only the first part of that is true, but there are easily thousands of wailing souls out there that would gladly accept all of it as fact. And what they don’t know, or want to know, is that if you listen really closely and are able to tune out the angry declarations of “I don’t have a problem with women” and “You just don’t get it”, then you will hear a sweeter and more appealing sound: laughter.
This is a funny movie, and I say this because I sat in a theater for 1 hour and 47 minutes and laughed my behind off throughout the majority of it. Was it perfect? No. There are no perfect films...,except for the 1940s epic known as Boom Town. That is the only time cinema has achieved perfection and since then it has only been able to brush against it. Ghostbusters is at its best when the jokes are flying at you hard and fast, and at its worst when it slows down to a crawl to attempt improv. Occasionally they’re a able to wring a few laughs out of those moments, but for the most part, they just result in airtime deader than Slimer. But those moments aside, I had a delightful time at my local cinema, and you can too. Or not. I don’t know. It’s comedy, so mileage will always vary.
This is a film that ultimately deals with the idea of acceptance and how the lack of it or chasing it too hard can lead to poor life decisions. One of our leads, Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig), is ashamed of her beliefs in the supernatural at first because she believes that they will ruin her chances of attaining tenure at a prestigious learning institute. When she is ultimately outed as a believer on the internet, she is relegated to the role of outsider and spends the film desperately trying to get the world to believe her because she has spent most of her life being mocked for the person she is, and she’s really kind of over it. At the same time, you have the film’s main antagonist, Rowan North (played by Neil Casey), who is also a person dealing with heavy feelings about not being accepted by society. He is an intelligent person, much like Erin, but unlike Erin he does not have a support system to keep him on a tried and true path. Instead, he just builds machines that make ghosts appear and ultimately turns into a giant killer ghost, and these are things that a good friend or two will ultimately try to dissuade you from doing.
This is all present in the film, but unfortunately Ghostbusters falls short in really embracing its own story and going the distance with it. We honestly could’ve used less improv and more scenes building up these story points, so by the time you get to the climax of the piece, the payoff is there just waiting to be grabbed. Regardless of these shortcomings, I still had a blast watching this film. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones are all top-notch in their respective roles, with special props going to Jones for being the standout, in my opinion. But as I said, they’re all funny folks and should be proud of their work in this film.
Now, before I go, I’d like to address one common complaint that’s been going around and then I’ll open up the floor for questions. Some people have said that the film is hindered by all of its callbacks to the original film. I did not find this to be true at all. Every cameo and reference was absolutely charming and did nothing to take me out of the movie. No, this film stands on its own two feet, even if the legs attached to those feet are a bit wobbly.
And to those of you out there that are in pain as you wade through the burning wreckage of your childhood that was ultimately destroyed by a sub-par teaser trailer, may I point out that laughter can be a soothing and effective balm. Go see Ghostbusters. You might just have a good time. I did.