Like a lot of folks who love the original I was skeptical about a reboot of this series and the initial trailer didn’t inspire confidence, but unlike many folks online I decided to withhold judgement until I’d seen the movie. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy have impressed me in other films and so I was up for giving them a chance. So today MWF (a massive McCarthy fan) and I, along with a friend, went to check this out.
And in all fairness they do a damn fine job here, as do the rest of the cast.
Sure, it won’t replace the original in my heart or develop the same cult following, but it’s a solid, entertaining and funny movie. From start to finish there’s a steady stream of gags and I chuckled throughout.
It all kicks off with a ghostly encounter at a mansion which leads the owner to seek out Erin Gilbert (Wiig) a university professor who earlier in her career had co-written a book about ghosts she thought long forgotten. Worried that it’s reappearance online may jeopardise her chances at tenure she seeks out her former friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) who continues to focus on the paranormal.
Erin and Abby, along with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Abby’s new co-worker investigate and see the ghost. When all are fired from their respective jobs they decide to go into business to prove the existence of ghosts.
They hire Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), a dimwitted receptionist who Erin finds attractive and set about trying to find more ghosts, being sought out by transport worker Patty (Leslie Jones) who also witnessed a ghost and who joins the team.
Investigating they discover that someone is releasing ghosts and plans to open a portal to another dimension which will unleash an army of the spirits. With the Mayor’s office trying to keep things quiet the four ladies are New York’s only hope and must work out what’s going on and bust those ghosts.
The plot is basic and straightforward, but this is fine as it provides some decent sequences and the relationship between Abby and Erin as they rebuild their lost friendship is well handled and serves as the heart of the story.
McCarthy and Wiig are both on fine form with Wiig playing the uptight Erin with fragile likeability and slowly unwinding the character as the film progresses. Even in her weaker films McCarthy has shown herself to be a great comedic presence on screen and she does well here, getting some great lines as the group’s unofficial leader.
McKinnon and Jones, who I knew less about are also very good and funny, and McKinnon’s Holtzmann who was one of the things I worried about in the trailers turns out to be a rather likeable oddball.
But stealing several scenes is Hemsworth as the useless, ditzy Kevin. While there have been some humourous moments in his previous films it’s still impressive how well he takes to comedy.
The effects are good and the first ghost is introduced in a genuinely creepy way, and the climactic sequences are well done and involving.
There are a few nods to the original and cameos from several of the original cast (Bill Murray, Dan Aykryd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts all appear). There is also a nice tribute to the late Harold Ramis. The film acknowledges it’s roots and inspiration, and also takes a few well aimed shots at the ridiculous online backlash this film has faced.
The doubts I had are vanquished by what is a very entertaining movie.
Verdict: The leads are fantastic and the jokes fast flowing. Plenty of laughs and while the plot is simple it keeps you involved. An entertaining blockbuster. 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.