Rated: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 15, 2016 Released by: Columbia Pictures
Paul Feig's distaff supernatural comedy is an about-face from Ivan Reitman's 1984 summer blockbuster starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis, but still mostly exuberantly innocuous sometimes laugh-out-loud fun also set in a ripe for haunting Big Apple.
His updated Ghostbusters (which opens with an old 70s' studio logo) also has some former Saturday Night Live members like Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), as well as a slimmed-down Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Since it's over 30 years late fighting off apparitions has allotted the filmmakers with some better visuals to complement a fairly well-structured yarn, as well as many generous cameos from the original to appease an anxious fanbase long-awaiting a project that took long to gestate.
Wiig's Dr. Erin Gilbert is into quantum physical and gets drawn into alleged macabre mischief when friend and science whiz Abby Yates (McCarthy) comes onto the scene to assist. Not to mention quirky engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) and slick subway employee Patty Tolan (Jones). While Feig's vision isn't as inspired as the initial collaboration with some hiccups when it comes to the scatological or the climax, for example, it's mostly amusing and infectious. Especially in playing off the recent viral vitriol that has apparently doomed the film's release and caused some havoc for the studio.
But, it's the havoc in a marauded metropolis where these ladies shine - Wiig and McCarthy have their customary comic charisma - however McKinnon and Jones are more surprising scene-stealers from one-liners and physical antics. Some will be amused how Feig indulges in Chris Hemsworth as the dim-bulbed, amusing receptionist. And, there are some decent set-pieces to complement the action, notably at a Thanksgiving parade.
Feig's direction and writing is workmanlike but not on the level of The Heat or Spy (which showcased McCarthy in fine comedienne form). The overall success won't be like what Reitman, Murray, Aykroyd and company reaped to enormous returns, but this well-cast, witty quartet obviously love being in slimy situations even if it may only profit like Charlie's Angels while taking advantage of a pervasive backlash that has plagued it.