Rating: 3 / 5
Take note naysayers. The new all-girl Ghostbusters is a hoot and, dare I say, even funnier than the 1984 original, and infinitely more palatable than 1988 sequel Ghostbusters II.
For those of you living under a rock in this version we have Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Saturday Night Live regulars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones stepping into the gumboots of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.
Well, sort of. Ghostbusters is a stand-alone beast, although there are sly references to the original and cameos aplenty, as well as a few well-aimed digs at the backlash. (How’s this for trivia? This remake produced the ‘most-disliked trailer ever on YouTube’, according to Vanity Fair magazine).
The narrative doesn’t stray too far from familiar territory. Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, an uptight university professor whose career is derailed by the sudden resurfacing of a book on the supernatural she’d co-written many years before with her former best friend Abby Yates (McCarthy), and whose existence she’d much rather forget.
Soon after Erin finally tracks down Abby and her tech-wiz co-worker Jillian Holtzmann (the irrepressible McKinnon) are called to a real-life ghost-busting scenario. Once on the job Erin is hooked again and soon their notoriety comes to the attention of Patty Tolan (Jones), whose photographic knowledge of New York more than makes up for her lack of scientific training…oh, and she also has access to a car.
Australian actor Liam Hemsworth plays Kevin, the receptionist and Erin’s sometime crush. Hemsworth plays up this beefcake role to the hilt and seems to be having the time of his life.
As do the women. At times it feels like we’ve walked in on a sleepover, such is the genuine warmth and familiarity between the leads who each provide more than stock-standard performance in what could have been throwaway roles.
For me (and for many other critics, it seems) the standout from this ensemble is McKinnon. One part mad scientist, two parts steampunk princess, McKinnon steals every scene with a wink and a smile. Bring on the sequel.
Highlights: The chemistry between the leads
Red flag: Some coarse language and scary effects