Ghostbusters: An Insulting Disappointment

Yes, maybe I’m a little late to the party, but I finally got around to seeing the latest reboot of Ghostbusters.  You know, that eagerly anticipated, groundbreaking, “barrier defying” reboot that was sure to “finally make female characters kick ass.” That movie.  With all the hype and promise that comes with a Ghostbusters film, and considering the cast of actors billed to headline it, I expected nothing but greatness. Instead, what I got was an insulting, boring, horribly-written story that featured characters as lifeless as the ghosts they were blowing up on screen. Want some clarification? Thought you’d never ask.

First of all, the film is laden with terrible, downright offensive throwbacks to the original films, which come across as corny and insulting as opposed to what we hope were intended homages and tributes to the classics. Having characters blurt out lines from the original movies for no apparent reason, combined with the most pointless cameos from the original cast feels like a slap in the face for any fan of Ghostbusters 1 & 2. Do I really need to see Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts as random side characters who probably would have been left on the editing bay floor?  I felt offended for Harold Ramis, who undoubtedly was rolling in his grave every time someone blurted out “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

Second, and perhaps most disappointing considering the hype surrounding it, is the blatant laziness and blandness of the development of its four core female lead characters.  When they announced that this new rendition of Ghostbusters would be led by an all-female cast, we were promised strong, colorful, intelligent characters who would make us care about their story just as much as any of the men in the previous films.  Instead, all you get are four characters who have hardly any noteworthy backstories, and almost zero character development. Its the same cheesy jokes you’ve already seen from Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, a boring and downright confusing portrayal by Kate McKinnon, and a one-note performance by Leslie Jones.  None of their characters ever truly come full circle, and they all have bizarre chemistry with one another…unless you’re just trying to draw from previous movies or shows where the actresses have co-starred together.  For a film that was supposed to glorify all-female casts, this one falls pretty short of the goal line. A clever thing to do would be to defy all expectations and make a film that strays from the typical and sometimes “offensive” male-led jokes and humor. Well, someone apparently didn’t get the memo. Ghostbusters dips right back into the heavily overdone world of dick jokes and over-sexualized awkward banter we’re all sick of at this point. Man or woman, it’s all been done before, and just because a woman says and does these things, doesn’t make it better or groundbreaking.  It just feels forced, rehashed, and lazy.

In the end, if you’re expecting a great “girl power” movie, wait for the last 20 minutes and you’ll get what you came for.  Awesome graphics and fight scenes where the girls get to kick some ghost butt. However, be prepared to sit through an hour and a half of insulting nonsense, some of the cheesiest one-liners you’ve ever seen, and poorly written scenes between four great women who deserve much better than what they had to work with.

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