Film review: GHOSTBUSTERS (12A)

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Showcase Cinema, Peterborough – out now

GHOSTBUSTERS (12A) Showcase Cinema, Peterborough – out now

CAST: KRISTEN WIIG, MELISSA McCARTHY, KATE McKINNON, CHRIS HEMSWORTH, LESLIE JONES, ANDY GARCIA, CHARLES DANCE, KARAN SONI, NEIL CASEY, CECILY STRONG, ED BEGLEY JR, ZACH WOODS, OZZY OSBOURNE, ANNIE POTTS, DAN AKROYD, ERNIE HUDSON, SIGOURNEY WEAVER & BILL MURRAY

RUNNING TIME: 1 hr 56 mins

DIRECTOR: PAUL FEIG

So the new female-centric reboot was meant to be eerily rubbish, then some early test screenings raised hopes it was spookily good – and now it’s been released it kind of sits somewhere in between, like a fascinatingly unnerving apparition.

The internet vitriol by sexist fanboys was bang out of order, so it’s pleasing the talented actresses do themselves justice – but the story itself sadly doesn’t.

Bridesmaids stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy provide enough decent gags to outshine the ones that fall flat, the zany Kate McKinnon just about stays the right side of kooky, and Leslie Jones (despite being passable) is arguably the weak link as she borders on an annoying character stereotype.

Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy) – who initially start the film as warring ex-buddies – nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) all band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

The biggest problems don’t really lie with the cast, but director Paul Feig’s reliance on paying homage to the first film – similar intro, mid-movie scene, ending and musical accompaniment with a 2016 twist – and the need to shoe-horn in cameos by the original surviving cast members (Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts – though not playing their old characters) which isn’t really necessary.

Even nostalgic ghosts like Slimer (who has a female companion this time round) aren’t utilised fully as it offers up very little on the scare-ometer.

Just let the ladies do their thing without the incessant need for ‘nods’ for Pete’s sake.

Sadly though the film just can’t seem to properly pull out of the shadow of the 1985 masterpiece – which was the perfect blend of comedy, action and ingenuity – and this (despite the best efforts of Wiig, McCarthy and McKinnon) ends up being all too predictable, seen first-hand with the tedious finale which has a total lack of invention.

Fortunately Chris Hemsworth’s turn as the Ghostbusters’ hapless receptionist Kevin generally works – before it gets overcooked a little – and there are one or two stand-out comedic moments which proves this supernatural comedy-actioner is better than the woeful trailer.

My sister – who is still laughing at McCarthy’s insistence that life is worth living for ‘soup if nothing else’ – and brother-in-law really enjoyed it though (a lot more than me) so as a standalone film it probably ticks enough boxes, and feel free to add an extra mark on this basis.

But in comparison to the iconic original this really does ‘cross the streams’ once too often – and will be one that will undoubtedly polarise cinema-goers over the coming weeks.

Rating: 2/5 Gavin Miller