Director: Paul Feig
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig
3 (out of 5) Globes
Relax, Men’s Rights Activists: The funniest part of the all-female “Ghostbusters” is a dude. As our heroes’ super-dolt himbo of a secretary, Chris Hemsworth deadpans up a storm, coolly rattling off absurdities, smiling stupidly, eating sandwiches mid-battle and gamely sending up his status as a throwback macho god we sometimes confuse with his very boring brother, what’s-his-name. Hemsworth doesn’t walk away with the movie. If anything it’s a photo finish with Kate McKinnon, as the most unhinged of the main quartet. But it’s really a comedy where everyone’s funny, not the least the four women helping to re-work and re-gender a beloved franchise that previously had a fifty percent batting average.
That Paul Feig’s new “Ghostbusters” is good and fun and funny is, of course, a huge relief. After all the hoopla over the un-loved trailer and cries of childhood memories left poop-stained, it would have been crushing had it been bad or, perhaps worse, painfully mediocre. If we had to see it out of obligation — as a political act, to counter a culture that still asks if women are funny, when women have been funny since at least the Lascaux cave days — it would have been yet another reminder that 2016 is the worst.
Yet it does something else of note. Mainstream film is currently stuck in a reboot stutter, like a scratched record that keeps playing the same two seconds. We can have “Star Wars” again, but only if it’s basically the first one all over again. “Ghostbusters” regurgitates some of the original’s story beats: A motley crew of disgraced nerds (plus one plebe) creates a makeshift business, has a big public success, falls on hard times then beats back a New York apocalypse. (It even fits in with today’s blockbusters, which regularly like to watch cities partially or entirely destroyed by otherworldly beasties.)