Ghostbusters (2016): A Review

By: Brett Slaughenhaupt

It is a universally acknowledged truth , that a single woman in possession of a good film’s rights must be in want of a man’s childhood ruined. At least, that is what the most radically negative sentiments leading up to this film’s release would want you to believe. Even though the original 1984 film was never much thought of as esteemed classic cinema beyond being a funny ‘80s film, that all changed when one director and four funny women decided to remake it with a little twist.

This film never does much to elevate itself into classic cinema, either, but that was never its intent. Its purpose lies in letting women play characters that aren’t defined by their relationships or gender, so much as they are by their intelligence and tenacity. Watching Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy interact with one another in such a unique way that isn’t often granted to women (let alone that many women) was very much inspiring.

Being a $100 million potential-franchise with merchandising and other money on the line, of course the actors are never given the free range to go as balls to the wall as we want them to,  even though we can tell they want to. But that is all made up by the fact that they each still get to inhabit their roles with their very unique brands of comedy, while never stepping too far into the stereotypes that are often seen on screen.

Never striving to be visually appealing, this film rides solely on the performances. While it never truly reaches the level of Spy or Bridesmaids, past Feig/McCarthy/Wiig collaborations, it did leave me entertained enough to never wonder how much time was left. The latter half of the film truly stands out because it leaves behind most traces of comedy for pure dramatic plot. That is where we see the quirks fall in place and true artistic qualities shine through.

So maybe Ghostbusters can’t be put down as the Best Film Ever, though not even its strongest defenders thought it ever would be. At the very least it can be proud to say that it took a chance: new characters were asked to play out new situations inhabited by unexpected actors. When we are seeing theatres every summer come out with the same man-boy comedies and superhero movie after superhero movie, at least this film gave us something different to keep us entertained.