By Taylor Kuether – Washington, DC
I was lazily scrolling through a dating app the other day (hey, DC single life!), when a stranger I’d matched with asked me how my weekend was going. I told him I’d seen the new “Ghostbusters” the night before and was consequently still flying high from watching four accomplished, funny women kick-ass on the big screen. His immediate follow-up: “Was Hemsworth as funny as the trailers made him out to be?”
My response: “I didn’t go for Hemsworth; I went for Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon and Jones.”
Since the reboot was announced last summer, “Ghostbusters” and its now-infamous casting choices has been mocked and diminished simply because this time, it’s girls who get to bust ghosts – to the chagrin of Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) everywhere.
I seldom see movies the weekend they open (I think the last time I did was the final installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise, which as many of us may remember, was in itself a cultural event). For “Ghostbusters,” though, I went opening night and encouraged my friends to do the same. I wanted this much-maligned movie to receive the opening weekend box office numbers it deserved (and it did, earning a solidly respectable $46 million).
Fortunately for feminists everywhere, “Ghostbusters” lived up to and maybe even exceeded the hype. From start to finish (and I do mean finish – stick around through the end credits, trust me), “Ghostbusters” is 117 minutes of grin-inducing delight. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy deliver on the comedy chops we’ve come to expect from them in their roles as Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, respectively. And newcomers to the big screen, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, do more than rise to the occasion – it can and will be argued that McKinnon steals the show in her role as techie oddball Jillian Holtzmann.
The film moves along at an enjoyable pace, spending enough time on plot to make sense, but interspersing enough action to keep audiences entertained through the nearly two-hour runtime. And 2016’s special effects far outweigh those of the 1984 original, making for a cast of ghosts that are actually low-key scary.
It’s the jokes, though, that make the movie such a consistent delight. There’s something for everyone – gross-out humor with the trademark “Ghostbusters” slime; in-jokes to keep diehard fans of the original happy; and plenty of the quick-witted writing director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and, long before that, “Freaks & Geeks”) and writer Kate Dippold (“Parks & Recreation”) are known for.
The film offers homage to the original in myriad ways – cameos from Bill Murray, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver litter the film, and Dan Akroyd not only makes a quick cameo as a cabbie, but also served as the reboot’s executive producer. Even the late Harold Ramis makes an appearance of sorts – a bust in his likeness is prominently displayed early on. Ramis’ real-life son plays a metalhead in a rock club scene and the credits end with a heartwarming “For Harold Ramis.”
I could write forever on “Ghostbusters,” female empowerment and badass comediennes, but I’ll wrap this up so you can go see the movie yourself. “Ghostbusters” was everything I hoped it would be and more. I’ll be riding this feminist high all week long.