It’s been 30 years, but the ghostbusters are back! According to press reports, the idea of a new version was bandied about for years. Two possible storylines included Bill Murray having a lead role as a ghost and another with the ghostbusters going to hell. It was finally decided to move forward with a script centering on a female cast reestablishing the paranormal investigative agency.
Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a university professor who’s under consideration for a tenured position until her ghost-hunting past not only keeps her from tenure but also leads her to being shown the door. She reunites with former partner Abbey Yates (Melissa McCarthy) who never gave up her sleuthing of the supernatural. Kate McKinnon is Jillian Holtzmann, who Yates brought onboard after Gilbert’s departure. The three scientists investigate some ghoulish activities at a historical location in New York City. Around the same time, a subway clerk (Leslie Jones) has an encounter at the station with a phantom. She invites the three investigators to see for themselves and her fascination with the occurrence leads her to join the ghostbusters’ team.
This “Ghostbusters” is a mere shadow of the original production and gets a Rent It rating. The characters and storyline are weak and inadequate. The three scientists overlap in personality traits and lack clarity as to who they really are and what motivates them. Wiig’s Gilbert speaks of an early experience with a ghost, which spiked her interest, but overall, the four leads are poorly developed and not at all interesting. Also in a twist of an old plot line, the group hires an attractive, dumb blonde as a receptionist, but in this case it’s a man (Chris Hemsworth) working for women.
Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones give it their best shots, but they don’t have a ghost of chance with this substandard script. And the plot is a scrambled mess about a misfit, Rowan (Neil Casey), who uses his supernatural powers to get back at the world.
“Ghostbusters” doesn’t disappoint when it comes to visuals. The imagery fascinates and dominates but is not enough to resuscitate this otherwise failing project.
There are cameo appearances from the earlier ‘buster movies, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Ozzy Osbourne. As to its cast diversity rating, “Ghostbusters” gets a “B.” Leslie Jones has a major role and Andy Garcia stars as the mayor of New York City. But overall, there is a lack of Hispanics and Asians for a story set in highly diverse New York City.
At 116 minutes in length, it’s rated PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor. Save yourself a trip to the theater. Wait and rent this film. The special effects will be worth it.