Release Date: July 15, 2016
Director: Paul Feig
Writers: Katie Dippold and Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy (as Abby Yates), Kristen Wiig (as Erin Gilbert), Kate McKinnon (as Jillian Holtzmann), and Leslie Jones (as Patty Tolan)
Erin Gilbert: That stuff went everywhere, by the way. In every crack. Very hard to wash off.
New York City: The film opens up to a tour group walking around the Aldridge mansion, which is supposedly haunted. From the beginning, we get the sense that this will be light hearted comedy. The tour guide (played by Zach Woods) has some tricks up his sleeve to play into the “haunted” factor for his tour group, and he plays them up well.
Of the four female Ghostbuster leads, we are introduced to Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) first. She is a professor at Columbia University and is sought out by a man who is looking for her and her co-author Abby Yates’ (Melissa McCarthy) expertise in paranormal phenomenon. With his request, he brings the book Erin and Abby wrote together that Erin thought had been long destroyed. It is then we learn she has distanced herself from her childhood friend, Abby. Erin, who is trying to receive her tenure with Columbia University, thought she had buried her beliefs in the paranormal (along with the book a long time ago) when she walked away from Abby.
Abby Yates continuing her studies on the paranormal at a technical college.
Erin is frustrated to see that the book has been released digitally and comes to confront Abby. Erin’s fear of this book getting around to her professional colleagues has her worried and angry that they will think she is crazy. It is then that she meets the eccentric engineer helping Abby with her studies, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). There are a few choice words back and forth between old friends; quirky dialogue from Holtzmann; and a gag or two at the expense of Erin. It comes to light that someone is seeking their help at the aforementioned Aldridge mansion, and Abby is ecstatic to take on a real case. While Abby and Holtzmann are up in arms with curiosity, Erin wants for nothing more than to put it all behind her and move forward in her career.
Aldridge Mansion: Here is when the journey of ghosts comes to life. Erin is still skeptical of any actual sightings given her history and being shunned in her younger days with the nickname “ghost girl.”
Erin Gilbert: “That’s okay, she seems… peaceful. My name is Erin Gilbert, doctor of particle physics…”
[the ghost throws up on her]
At this first sighting, Abby and Erin’s friendship has regained traction. Holtzmann, who is the “queen of gadgets” so to speak has already begun creating more and more machines for them to use. While at times Holtzmann seems like a background character, her quirky anecdotes and odd expressions add laughable whimsy to each scene.
Office above a Chinese Restaurant: Needing to continue their research, the ladies open up an office entitled “Department of the Metaphysical Examination.” They hire Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) who not only has zero qualifications for the receptionist’s position, but is also for lack of a better expression, the “dimmest” bulb in the box.
Kevin: “Is it the boobs you don’t like? Because I can make them… bigger.”
Despite Abby’s hesitation, Erin pushes for him to be hired with no denial of her attraction towards him.
Erin Gilbert: “Oh Kevin, that is a manly name. My name is Erin with an “E” for everything you want.”
Subway Booth: we meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who is working in a subway booth talking and joking with passersby. Only one person acknowledges her, but spews off really creepy and cryptic messages. Patty brushes him off but then sees him heading down a subway line; she follows him and finds an electronic device but becomes completely spooked. This becomes Patty’s first encounter with a ghost.
Now that the “Department of Metaphysical Examination” is a somewhat functional operation, they meet Patty who informs them of a ghost sighting she recently witnessed. Although this is good for business, a supernatural debunker named Dr. Martin Heiss (Bill Murray) goes on record to proclaim that there is no such thing. Erin, who resents being labeled “insane” takes this personally.
Despite setbacks and nonbelievers, Abby convinces Erin to keep hunting while Holtzmann continues to ramp up new toys for them to take the ghosts down. Patty, who has no scientific background, joins the group because although she may not know the technical ins and outs of their craft, she knows New York City and how to get around. Plus, she provides the vehicle that later becomes labeled “Ecto-1.”
Live Music Venue: Another device is planted.
The newly labeled “Ghostbusters” received a call stating an entity has been spotted. We now know the strange man that Patty followed down the subway line earlier is named Rowan North (Neil Casey), and that he has a plan to wreak havoc on the city.
Patty Tolan: “I thought this was going to be like a book club. You know, have a snack, talk about ghosts, that sort of thing.”
[She peeks into a room fill with mannequins]
“Oh good, a room of nightmares.”
The crew hunts down a ghost in this rock venue with audience members thinking it is part of a show. Special effects as far as the eye can see between their equipment and the entity are had. There is a showdown and a trap. Congratulations ladies, you caught another one! However, this mission is a very public one. As such, federal agents and the mayor catch wind of what is going on; Dr. Heiss (remember him?) makes his way to the office above the Chinese restaurant to see the Ghostbusters in person. He wants these ladies to prove him his theory of their false claims about ghosts being real, are wrong. Erin, not wanting to seem crazy, falters to his requests.
After more havoc ensues, the mayor has agents (who are all aware of the ghost problem, but want to keep it under wraps) arrest the Ghostbusters and inform the media that is all a hoax for attention. As you can imagine, this affects Erin on a personal level. Abby knows the work they are doing is important, as such, she isn’t bothered by this turn of events because they have the greenlight to keep working, but to keep what they are doing private.
They all know it’s real, however a public display could cause hysteria among the city’s occupants.
[More anecdotal lines and high powered gadgets from Holtzmann; more funny one-liners from Patty; more pretty, but ridiculous, lines from receptionist Kevin.]
Office Above a Chinese Restaurant: The girls come together to figure out why Rowan keeps planting devices in different parts of this city. They pull out a map to mark down different points these devices have been spotted.
Mercado Hotel: The Ghostbusters will stop at nothing to prove there is a problem in their city. Despite being told they are crazy and nonsensical, they have a mission and they believe in their science.
Rowan’s plans are unfolded, and just when you think it’s okay, as with any movie, it goes from bad to worse…
Without giving any key plot points to the movie away, I will say there were some truly enjoyable parts in this movie, as well as equally ridiculous ones. We know this movie is a remake. We know this movie is about catching ghosts. We know it’s an updated version of our beloved 1984 version of Ghostbusters. I have now laid the ground work to a good portion of the movie for you in hopes that along with its predictability, you will still find it a likeable remake.
The guest appearances from some audience favorites were a nice surprise sprinkled throughout the film (I will leave those for you to discover). Benny (Karan Soni) the delivery boy who works at the Chinese restaurant below the Ghostbusters headquarters was probably, to me, the most likeable secondary character (for me, it stems from his likeability as the taxi driver in the film Deadpool).
The pacing of the film felt a bit slow at times, but did pick up steam where it was needed. The characters were enjoyable for the most part, and the special effects were reminiscent of the original. I will say there were parts that I found riddled with absurdity, but I suppose were in their own way pertinent to the story line.
Overall, I would give this film 3.5 stars. It lacked in a few areas, but I still found it to be a very enjoyable movie to watch with friends on a Friday night. If you get the chance, view it in 3D. The ghost’s appearances really jump out at you in that format.
If you can get past all of the criticisms of the casting and storyline and go into it with a fresh outlook of your own, I think you will certainly find criticisms with the film, but also, find it an overall fun and entertaining watch.
Will it win any awards? Highly unlikely.
Will it make you laugh? Absolutely.