By Jim Tortolano
About an hour and 15 minutes into “Ghostbusters,” the all-female remake of the classic spooky comedy, the audience broke into laughter at a line of dialogue by Leslie Jones. That’s 75 minutes before the first good laugh. Not a good sign for a comedy.
This new “Busters” is a bust, no sexist pun intended. The producers have checked all the right boxes: great special effects, a likeable cast, an appeal to nostalgia (with lots of cameos) and snappy music. They just forgot to get a good script.
The premise of this version is ghost-thin. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) loses tenure at Columbia University because of her belief in ghosts. She gets together with old pal Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and her pal Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon) to form an organization that hunts supernatural baddies. They hire Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and Kevin (Chris Helmsworth) and let the slime fall where it may.
Katie Dippold and director Paul Feig share the credit (or blame) for the script and screenplay. Except for Wiig’s Erin, the characters are very thinly-sketched. Chief baddie Rowan North (Kevin Casey) has almost no motivation for doing whatever vague thing he’s supposed to be doing other than people being mean to him.
There’s some bathroom humor and some girls-can-be-gross-too yucks, but that’s about it. Not a trace of wit or bright conversation. Even the weak parts of the original were brightened by the performance of Bill Murray as the non-plussed slacker Dr. Peter Venkman.
And that’s the other problem. There’s no star power here, no standout performance that makes you want to look forward to what that guy (or gal) is gonna do and say next. Most humor is about the unexpected and there’s very little of that here.
So, if you’re looking for something to brighten the summer doldrums for you with some solid chuckles, who you gonna call? Don’t call these “Ghostbusters.”
“Ghostbusters” is a comedy-fantasy sci-fi movie. It’s rated PG-13 for some fantasy violence, grody humor and sexual innuendo.
Categories: Arts & Leisure