This one is just plain fun. And
that’s quite an accomplishment, considering how difficult it is to
pull off tongue-in-cheek humor, straddling that fine line between parody
and drama, and also between spoofing and frightening.
But the new “Ghostbusters” lands itself squarely in the
vortex of both those intersections, as it also engages the viewer in its
explanation of the paranormal vortex which will soon descend on New York
Yeah, that sounds kind of hokey, and one of the principal
characters, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) has spent much of her recent
adult life debunking all things paranormal, as she attempts to gain
tenure status as a scientist in a prestigious university.
That means she has to disavow her previous flirtation with the
subject, as she’d collaborated in a book with Abby Yates (Melissa
McCarthy), a snub which definitely ended their friendship as well as
their writing partnership.
But Abby Yates hasn’t given up researching all reported ghost
sightings, and the movie begins with a definite fright sequence, as a
venerable old mansion turns out to be a true haunted house.
Ms. Yates is fascinated, and brings along her current business
partner, the scientist Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon).
They’re soon joined by a clerk in the transit system, Patty
Tolan (Leslie Jones), and finally Professor Gilbert herself.
Now the new Ghostbuster team is ready for action.
And they get plenty of it.
But first we have to establish a few other comedic lines, as they
hire the incredibly good-looking but inept Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as a
receptionist, because, well, he’s eye candy.
And here is the irony of all-female employers clearly ogling for
the pure pleasure of it, which, of course, male employers have been
accused of doing since….they started hiring receptionists?
But that light-hearted skit sketch stuff quickly gives way to a
serious crisis, as a hotel bell hop manages somehow to harness the dark
paranormal forces, and so our brave, intrepid spook-spotters must do
battle with the bad ghosts, the ones who spray goo all over everyone,
and frighten the unsuspecting (though it’s also humorous how they
appear in a hard rock concert and the festival goers cheer wildly,
because they think it’s part of the show).
Plenty of homage to the original “Ghostbusters,” including
cameos from the original characters.
Some scary images for small children, but we’re really all
about the farce, not the fright. Or
the fight. It moves quickly,
and it entertains consistently, even through the final credits.
Yes, “Ghostbusters” an odd duck.
But it still flies.