With that said, this new Ghostbusters may not have the originality and importance of the original, but it definitely has the entertainment value.
The new quartet of ghost-fighters is made up of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. As a reboot to an all-new series, the story shows how they come together and rise to fame amidst backlash from the government and other naysayers.
The looming–and probably inadvertent–Cold War undertones of the original get substituted for nothing in this one. And honestly, it’s better that way. We have enough social commentary in our superhero movies these days that we don’t need it all the time. Sometimes it’s good to have a movie that can just be fun.
And that’s what this film is. In many ways, this one is funnier. Whereas the the original found comedy from pretty much just Bill Murray and Rick Moranis, this one tries squeezing it out of its entire cast. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
It mostly doesn’t work in the case of McKinnon and Jones. While Jones’ comedy style doesn’t fit well in most places, McKinnon’s just doesn’t fit well in this scenario. Wiig will say or do something funny and then McKinnon pipes in and it awkwardly falls flat. It’s jarring. It’s not just that the audience doesn’t expect it–the audience doesn’t want it. I think Kate McKinnon is funny, and I love the brand of humor she brings to this movie. But it just doesn’t work here.
There are few that may appreciate the cringe humor of McKinnon, but to most others, they just won’t get it. Which isn’t really what you want in a very mainstream reboot of one of the most popular comedies of all time.
Chris Hemsworth is the brightest ray of sunshine in this film, as he plays the earnestly stupid receptionist who goes as far as proposing the 7-Eleven graphic as the logo for the Ghostbusters team.
The script has some pacing issues, but a lot of the jokes are well-written and thought-out. Imagine if the ones that fell flat didn’t. Director Paul Feig does a good job not just handing McCarthy the reins and letting her run off with it recklessly. Fortunately, she’s contained enough that it doesn’t just feel like her movie where she’s stepping on everybody’s toes. In fact, no one really does.
There are enough solid references to the original film to keep old fans into it. There’s that connection. It never feels like a distant cousin of Ghostbusters, but like it could, possibly, still be in that same universe.
It’s obviously not as much of a zeitgeist of an era as the original Ghostbusters was. No one ever expected it to be. In fact, no one really expected anything (with the exception of those fanboys who just hated its existence). And that plays in its favor as we can just sit back and be entertained, for all that it’s worth.