Ghostbusters (2016) Review

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I’ve noticed this thing about a lot of recent comedy movies. No, not just that they’re bad, I mean something else. See I think the last sort of wave of comedy movies that anyone really responded to were like those Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow movies from like ten years ago. You know, like Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. And what made those movies so funny is all the improv between the actors. They didn’t really write jokes, it was just kind of them all reacting to stuff and riffing off each other, and somehow it worked. And I think a lot of movies since have been trying and spectacularly failing at doing the same thing. It seems like a lot of directors think they can just stick any four funny people in front of the camera without writing any jokes for them and expect it to be gold. The thing is, Seth Roger and Jason Segel and Martin Starr and Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill and Judd Apatow have all spent years hanging out and smoking weed and writing comedy together. They literally become famous off of just trying to make each other laugh. So when you get them all together in a movie, their natural rapport and comfort and developed timing with each other all translates to the audience, and it’s effortlessly funny. But there are so many points in not just this new Ghostbusters movie, but also every other Paul Feig movie I’ve seen, where the rhythm and the timing and the framing all suggest that what the character is saying should be a big funny punchline and it’s just nothing. It’ll be like some generic understated reaction line, and it just comes across like there was no joke written, and they couldn’t think of anything funny to improv. And it’s not that they’re not funny actors who are capable of improv, but unless you have the exact right group of actors and director, you just can’t hang a whole movie on improv alone. At some point you have to write some jokes.

Speaking of actors, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth completely stole the show. Like I said, most of the jokes are just the characters reacting to wacky scenarios, and Leslie Jones’s reactions are genuinely the funniest. As for Chris Hemsworth, I can’t tell if he’s actually a really great comedic actor or if it’s just his accent, but every line he had made me laugh. Kate McKinnon was also really good, in the sense that her character was this ridiculous, over-the-top cartoon character who belonged in a completely different movie, but was super fun to watch. The two real let downs are Melissa McCarthy, who I dislike generally (being exassebated and having a midwestern accent isn’t a comedic persona), but who was tolerable in this, and Kristen Wiig, who gave a suprsisingly bad performance. Normally she’s funny, but it’s like she has no fucking idea what she’s doing in this movie. Like I think what happened is they sort of tried to make her the main character, which meant she had to be really grounded and relatable, so instead of letting Kristen Wiig like come up with a funny character to do, like they did with Kate McKinnon, they just made her play like “the normal girl”. So all she has to fall back on to try to be funny is that whole awkward thing she does, which stretched out over two hours with nothing else and no written jokes quickly becomes pretty painful.

Oh yeah, two hours, this movie is too long by like 40 minutes. What happened to a nice, brisque 90 minutes comedy? They’re all super long now. Even the best comedic premise wears thin after the two hour mark. Learn to edit, Paul Fieg. (Feig? Fieg. I can’t rememeber how I spelled it last time. Spellcheck says they’re both wrong. I’m not googling it). Some of the actual ghost stuff was better than I thought it would be, too. The trailers make it look like they’re all just generic, but there are some interesting ones, once you get over the fact they’re all CG. There’s also way more of a focus on the development of the ghost fighting tech, which is kind of cool if you’re a nerd. One thing I really didn’t like was the “final boss” ghost, tho. I’m just gonna spoil it, who cares. The bad guy asks them to choose their destructor form, and they ask for a “friendly cartoon ghost”. So it literally turns into an animated version of the Ghostubsters logo, which then turns giant and realistic and starts fighting them. Which is stupid enough on it’s own, but like, there’s a moment in the trailer where you see Stay-Puft, right, and I was like “oh no, they’re doing stay-puft again”. But then in the actual movie it turns out it’s just a Stay-Puft balloon that gets possessed along with a whole Macy’s parade, so it’s more of a reference than anything else. But then like two seconds later this thing asks them to pick a destructor form and then proceeds to transform into a giant white chubby cartoon character with a bowtie. So what the fuck was even the point? Either do Stay-Puft or don’t. Anyway it would probably be a stretch to call this movie good but if you mentally divorce it from the original and just compare it to the average modern day bright loud crap, then it’s completely fine. 

Overall Rating: And really with the whole calling out your own youtube haters thing? You know you give them the power when you do that. So childish. Who are you, Kevin Smith?/10

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