GHOSTBUSTERS: Trying not to compare this female-oriented remake of the wildly popular 1984 scare comedy is sort of like being told not to think of a blue horse. No matter how hard you may try to put it out of your head, it’s always going to be there. But standing on its own, this movie is comedically out of sync and feels like it’s trying way too hard to get what laughs it manages to conjure up. When the funniest character is an incompetent yet beefy male receptionist (Chris Hemsworth) parodying “airheaded” female counterparts from movies past, it’s usually indicative of a lack of chemistry among your major players. The screenplay, co-written by director Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS) and Kate Dippold is slapped together involving an apparition releasing villain (Neil Casey) whose demise feels like a device to rid the narrative of a character that the authors didn’t know what to do with. I was rather taken aback by how subpar the visual effects were with the exception of a “Macy’s Parade” of spirits near the conclusion. To have four of the funnies women (Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig) working playing the title characters comes with high expectations that are nowhere near being met in this painfully average movie. My real question is why such talent is being utilized to remake a movie that got it right to begin with and didn’t really need to be remade in the first place (I know there are potentially several hundred million reasons for it but it’s a rhetorical question.)? Of course, there are the expected clever cameos from the stars of the original movie who had me thinking about what a better work that was…and about a blue horse. CRITIC’S GRADE: C
CLOSING CREDITS: When it comes to remaking movies, I believe that Hollywood’s approach has been positively dyslectic. Operating with the “tried and true syndrome” that if it worked once it’s bound to work again, American film distributors remake movies judged to be the most popular during the time of their original release. Remakes of these works are usually doomed by their inability to measure up to their predecessors or may be out of touch with viewers in future years. What Hollywood ought to do is reboot films with a cool plot or premise whose execution on-screen was substandard. If you think about it, it’s the movies that should have been good but weren’t that really deserve a second chance.