Bridesmaids’ Paul Feig directs this reboot of the much-loved 1984 comedy, in which four women form a team dedicated to catching ghosts in New York City
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey, Cecily Strong, Matt Walsh, Ed Begley Jr., Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Day Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver
Genre: Comedy / Horror / Fantasy
Release date: July 11, 2016
Running time: 116 mins
When it was announced that Bridesmaids director Paul Feig was going to reboot the much-loved Ghostbusters franchise with an all-female cast, certain disgruntled sections of the internet became near-apoplectic with rage, kicking off a vicious backlash before a single frame of the film had even been shot and actively willing the film to fail.
Happily, while by no means perfect, the finished film is enormous fun and manages to stand as its own thing, while simultaneously ticking all the right fan-pleasing boxes. It also sticks a cheerful two fingers up at the haters, and then kicks them in the b****cks for good measure.
Set in present-day New York, the film stars Kristin Wiig as Dr Erin Gilbert, a quantum physicist with an interest in the paranormal. After being roped into investigating a suspected haunting, Erin joins forces with childhood best friend and fellow science whizz and ghost enthusiast Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), along with oddball engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and New York-savvy subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), and the quartet soon find their ghost-busting skills in demand after a series of spooky entities wreak havoc on New York City.
The cast (drawn, like their predecessors, from Saturday Night Live) is simply terrific, delivering likeable comic performances and exuding an infectious sense of fun in every scene.
Jones and McKinnon, in particular, put in star-making supporting turns, with the former nabbing some of the funniest lines and the latter achieving a unique, off-kilter weirdness that feels entirely original, making her every line delivery, grimace or gesture a joy to watch.
As director, Feig structures the film nicely (it arguably improves on the original in this respect) and maintains an engaging pace, as well as pulling off a series of enjoyable action sequences.
The ghost effects are excellent, heightened by some state-of-the-art CGI work and some appealingly spooky character designs, most notably in a gorgeous-looking ghostly Thanksgiving parade sequence.
It’s fair to say that not all the jokes work (there’s a fart gag that should probably have been dropped and Chris Hemsworth, while good, is slightly over-indulged as the team’s dim-witted receptionist), but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud funny lines (including some amusing digs at the film’s online backlash), as well as generous, crowd-pleasing cameos from almost every member of the original cast.
Crucially, the decision to gender-swap the cast works like a charm, and the importance of having a female-led blockbuster (needless to say, it aces the Bechdel Test) cannot be over-stated.
Similarly, the film unexpectedly taps into one of the unsung pleasures of cinema, which is simply watching people be really good at their jobs (see also: The Martian, or Spotlight).
Combining a charming comic cast, spectacular spooky effects and a genuinely funny script, this is enormous fun from beginning to end. Rest assured, busting will indeed make you feel good.