‘Ghostbusters’ review: Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, Jones shine in new comedy

There was a considerable amount of internet anger over the new “Ghostbusters” film, with vitriolic outrage about its all-female cast and people just upset with the idea of remaking a classic.

It was a lot of nonsense based on trailers, built on preconceived notions and the idea that fandom has some kind of ownership over the franchise it loves.

The new “Ghostbusters” is not a film that deserves any ire, and while it might not win over the angry haters who live to complain, it is a deftly made comedy with an excellent cast that should please many a theatergoer.

Director Paul Feig, who has serious geek cred as the creator of “Freaks and Geeks,” working from a script he co-wrote with Katie Dippold, avoids the trap of remaking a classic, and instead borrows from the basic ideas of “Ghostbusters” for a new take on a timeless concept.

Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert is a scientist and college professor hoping to get tenure, but haunted by her past. She co-wrote a book called “Ghosts From Our Past,” about the existence of apparitions, and she’s afraid it could hurt her chances with the scientific community. When the head of a haunted historic mansion seeks her help with a ghost, her first concern is losing her chance at tenure.

She wrote the book with an estranged pal, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), also a scientist, but one who continued to embrace the paranormal. Yates is working at a low-rent academic institution with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon, who absolutely steals the show), a weirdo inventor with cool hair. They check out the haunted mansion and a new team of Ghostbusters is formed.

They’re later joined by MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones, amazing), who brings some toughness and tons of knowledge about New York City (though it seems she thinks the 6 train goes to Queens). Chris Hemsworth plays the team’s dopey man-candy receptionist Kevin, who is pretty hilarious. There also are cameos from some very familiar faces to the franchise.

The foursome are faced with stopping a major supernatural threat, running afoul of the mayor and saving the city. Business as usual for a “Ghostbusters” movie.

But does the world need another “Ghostbusters” movie? You can argue they should have just stopped after the 1984 original. Though it’s pointless to quibble with remakes and sequels in the cinematic landscape we live in. Just assume if it was once made, it will be made again.

This new “Ghostbusters” is a fine, and arguably great, comedy. Any belief that the foursome of Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones can’t hold their own in this film because of their gender is pure garbage. These are four incredibly funny comic actors, and the film lets them flex their comedic muscles — and their actual muscles, too, as they’re no slouches in the action here, either.

The film is filled with tons of ghosts and energetic ghost-busting scenes. Feig made the smart decision to keep them on the more cartoony side, though they certainly can be menacing. The option of seeing the film in 3-D — never this critic’s first choice — will reward you with some cool ghostly effects coming out of the screen — though, thankfully, you won’t get slimed. And there’s a pure joy in seeing some of the new gadgets that Holtzmann dreams up in the battle with the supernatural.

Be excited for this new “Ghostbusters” film. There’s a lot to love here, with the exception of the new theme song, “Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)” by Fall Out Boy with Missy Elliot. Any internet hate for that song is well-founded.


Directed by Paul Feig

Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth

Rated PG-13