THE MOVIE GUY: ‘Ghostbusters’ is spooky/silly fun

Published 11:18 pm Thursday, July 14, 2016

Online naysayers have been spewing venom at the new “Ghostbusters” remake ever since it was first announced that the new movie would feature a team of four women. I understand why nostalgia might drive some to worry about updating a beloved classic comedy, but since the four actresses in question are some of the funniest performers working today, the critique seemed unfounded and more than a little bit sexist.

The new “Ghostbusters” arrives in theaters this weekend with just enough silly antics and spectral special effects to keep contemporary audiences happy, although I will admit that I was expecting a funnier film, given the talent involved in it.

Still, this is absolutely not the disaster that online trolls have been predicting.

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The film follows the same basic premise as the original. We are introduced to four women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) who team up when New York City is suddenly besieged by an onslaught of slime-spewing ghosts. It’s up to this new team of Ghostbusters to round up all the phantoms and save the city.

The ghost special effects are very well done, coming across as completely believable while still providing an occasional chuckle here and there. Indeed, some of the action moments will get your heart racing, something that the original film never managed to achieve.

Of course the comedy is more important than the special effects, and I’m afraid that it’s a mixed bag for the new “Ghostbusters.” There are plenty of funny moments, but not enough considering that McCarthy and Wiig are front and center here. The two actresses seem to be a bit reserved, which is odd considering that this story provides ample opportunity for silliness.

Saturday Night Live actresses Jones and McKinnon fare better, making a funny impact with their supporting characters. The same holds true for Chris Hemsworth, hired as the hunky, but dumb-as-a-doorknob receptionist. It’s a hoot watching his self-deprecating performance.

I also enjoyed seeing the cameo appearances from original cast members, although they certainly could have been given funnier things to do.

All things considered, “Ghostbusters” is something of a minor disappointment, but there are enough nostalgic call backs to the original film to satisfy the fan base, plus plenty of silly updates to keep new audiences laughing along with the fun. Wiig and McCarthy may not be in top form, but they are still rather funny, even when stuck in second gear, and the supporting cast picks up most of the comic slack.

Throw in some nice action moments and you’re left with a film that should satisfy most summer audiences, but also a film that isn’t quite good enough to silence its online critics.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at