“Ghostbusters” (PG-13) 1 1/2 stars (out of four)
Don’t bother calling … the new “Ghostbusters” is a mere specter of its former self. Dull and uninspired, the reboot of the 1984 smash no doubt boasts a talented cast and director in Paul Feig – yet it feels like they are all operating under some strict studio mandate and following marching orders to avoid doing anything risky that will taint the “Ghostbusters” brand.
Despite a new story and characters, the new “Ghostbusters” ultimately feels like a rehash of the original, where a ragtag group of scientists (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon) and a street savvy New York City transit worker (Leslie Jones) try to rid the Big Apple of some very nasty spirits and the evil human force who’s unleashing them.
The biggest problem with “Ghostbusters is that it’s a PG-13 film that’s preventing the hilarious R-rated comedy team of Feig, McCarthy and Wiig (who first did “Bridesmaids” together) from doing what they do best.
Had Feig (who also directed McCarthy in “The Heat” and “Spy”) been allowed to turn loose his performers in the territory they know best – bawdy, R-rated comedy – the film would have been infinitely better.
Apart from some obviously improved visual effects, the new “Ghostbusters” is a tremendous disappointment considering the level of talent involved.
Not even cameos from most of the original cast can juice up the newfangled proton pack: Bill Murray is given the most to do although his two scenes are brief, while Dan Aykroyd’s appearance is short, silly and of no consequence.
On the other hand, the turns by Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver (in the end credits) are welcome, and even the late, great Harold Ramis is represented in the form of a golden bust in a blink or you’ll miss it scene at the very beginning of the film.
Rick Moranis, who dropped largely from the public eye for the last 20 years, declined a cameo, and perhaps smartly so. Some franchises are better left untouched.
Hear Tim’s review of “Ghostbusters” and more above with Tom Barnard and the “KQ92 Morning Show,” beginning at 7:30 in.