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Ghostbusters (2016)


Ghostbusters 2016

Is there something strange in your neighbourhood?  You better believe it. I wanted to like this. I really did. But it’s not bad, just butter. Even if there’s a supposedly funny anti-Irish line within the first sixty seconds. There are two reasons to remake a film:  to make it better;  or to reinvent it entirely. It is not (usually) enough to slot characters of another gender into the original roles and just … shoot it again a few decades later. (Ask Gus Van Sant – look what he did with Psycho:  I rest your case.) I love Melissa McCarthy. (Kristen Wiig? Not so much.)  And I love how Paul Feig has made her a superstar – Spy was one of the funniest times I have had at the cinema in the last few years. It radically reinterpreted all the spy spoof tropes and made a woman a real hero – with some game performances from a fabulous supporting cast. The original Ghostbusters was sharply written and both funny and scary. Some of the best comic performers alive were starring in it (and Ernie Hudson). It was genuinely inventive. It had for its time some terrific special effects. It was a treat that anyone of any age could enjoy. It still gets regular screen outings because it is endlessly watchable. It is cleverly put together on every level. The worst thing about it was the theme song. And what have we here? A retread that in the space of 116 minutes made me laugh precisely twice. There are toilet jokes – an unfortunate component of Feig’s humour and so unnecessary. There are ‘bits’ that no more work on the screen than they could have done when being performed. There are scenes that are overlong and silly – not because they’re fun but because they make little sense. There isn’t characterisation worth a damn. The people concerned were so sensitive to criticism of the trailer they reshot some scenes and inserted some ‘funny’ putdowns. Not a sign of security in your work and really not a good idea to take on the paying audience, eh? When the original cast members (with the obvious sad absence of Harold Ramis) do their cameos you greet them with a sigh of relief from the relentless stupidity. Bill Murray does a Tom Wolfe impression as a debunker and when asked if these women are the real thing, barks, Hell no! And the best thing about this? The original song. (Which was the worst part of the first film). All those terrific women put together cannot hold a candle to Sigourney Weaver – underlined by her appearance in the final scene. Note:  maybe I wasn’t paying attention but why were all the neon and Broadway signs during the big confrontation from the Sixties and Seventies? Beyond the Fringe?! Beyond belief. You’ve been slimed!

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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