Trailers for Paul Feig films have a track record for being underwhelming, but there’s a reason for that: as Feig explains it, a comedy film is like a table in a restaurant occupied by a group of friends that know and love each other, that drink together and howl with laughter together while having the best night of their lives.
The trailer for said comedy film is a table-for-one at the other side of the restaurant, eating alone and silently wanting to kill those unfunny clowns making too much noise and acting like twats. Table-for-one wants to stab its fork into the eyeballs of everyone at the fun table across the room. As soon as the film starts, Feig is tasked with moving the audience from the loser table to the fun table as fast as possible.
With Ghostbusters, we’re at the fun table, stealing chips off someone else’s plate, from the get-go. It goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: people needn’t have got so worked up about that trailer. Think of the things mankind could have collectively achieved if all the energy and passion that went into clicking the dislike button on YouTube was put into something more lasting or worthwhile. We could have fed almost a million dogs on that click-to-give-a-dog-a-bowl-of-food website.
The film’s strongest assets are easily its characters and insanely talented cast. Wiig’s pre-tenure university professor Erin Gilbert gets the ball rolling by instigating the whole busting-ghosts thing. Wiig plays the role straighter than some of her co-stars, but she’s still extremely engaging and entertaining. McCarthy’s Abby Yates is loud and obnoxious at times, but she has a good heart and a sense of humour. Jones’ subway worker Patty Tolan is smart and brave, stepping into a world she knows nothing about and taking it in her stride.
If the film had to have an MVP, however, it would be McKinnon’s zany nuclear physicist Jillian Holtzmann. McKinnon consistently steals scenes to the point where it’s difficult to focus on anyone else when she’s on screen. She effortlessly turns goofy sound effects and facial expressions into punch lines.
As a unit, the four of them are bloody hilarious. They are a perfect example of an ensemble cast actually having chemistry, as opposed to being a bunch of people that were thrown together, given lines and told to look like they like each other.
Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin, the Ghostbusters’ secretary, is also worth a mention as he’s kind of genius. The character himself isn’t that likeable – he’s an absentminded, selfish imbecile; you’d steer clear of him in real life – but he’s absolutely fascinating. Hemsworth plays him almost deadpan, which seems like a weird choice on paper considering all the other characters’ personalities, but he hits the comedy mark every time.
As far as the actual gags go, a couple are weirdly placed, a few feel rushed in order to make room for bigger but inferior gags, and some of the biggest laughs come from muttered throwaway comments that should have had more of a spotlight. But as a whole, Katie Dippold and Feig’s script is tight, fast-paced and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.
What it basically comes down to, as with most comedy blockbusters, is if you like the cast and the director you’ll most likely dig Ghostbusters. If you don’t then you won’t, so don’t waste your money and, subsequently, your time complaining about it on the Internet.
Spend your money and your time on things you do like instead. However, if you’re feeling a sense of smug achievement about not liking a film you didn’t think you would like, you should confront those feelings and ask yourself what they’re actually about.