Starring Kristen Wiig. Rated PG.
Given the extent to which social media and toxic buzz have turned this movie into a veritable referendum on whether you are a Social Justice Warrior or Men’s Rights Activist, you might suspect that there is no way that Ghostbusters could ever live up to expectations.
And you would be right.
This is neither the funniest movie of the summer, nor the worst. It is not a travesty of the original, nor a reinvention of the premise.
In this retelling, Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are Gilbert and Yates, scientists and authors who fell out over Gilbert’s decision to abandon paranormal research for straight academia. They reconnect over a spate of ghost sightings in New York, one involving transit worker Tolan (Leslie Jones). They complete their ghost-hunting team with engineer Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).
The antics that follow are well-crafted and packed with allusions to the original movie. What’s missing is character and dialogue. It’s almost criminal to put together a comedy cast this talented, and neglect to give them interesting details to play.
Gilbert, for example, crushes hard on the sculpted idiot that she forces the others to hire as their secretary, a dismaying idea even though Chris Hemsworth is admirably game. Yates is obsessed with... soup? Tolan is the black one.
Only Holtzmann thrives as a character, as the group’s intensely, almost malevolently creative armourer. McKinnon is riveting, in every sense. Watching her kick ass in this movie suddenly made me wonder if Marvel has finalized casting Captain Marvel. Who you gonna call? You should be calling Kate McKinnon.