Kate McKinnon Ghostbusters

A Cast Consisting of Every Funny Person on the Planet

Like any comedy with good taste, Ghostbusters decided to raid the cast of Veep to fill out its margins and the results are sublime. With bit parts played by the likes of Zach Woods, Matt Walsh, Sam Richardson, Jessica Chaffin, and Jamie Denbo, even the most standard scenes are guaranteed a chuckle or two. And that’s before you get to Ed Begley Jr. and Charles Dance contributing well-seasoned deadpans, Cecily Strong and Andy Garcia (whose line about not being the mayor from Jaws is an all-timer) providing well-timed bursts of lunacy, and Neil Casey (another Veep veteran) finding the right balance of creepy and silly that you want in a Ghostbusters baddie. As the painfully dim-witted receptionist Kevin, Chris Hemsworth showcases a knack for goofy comedy that needs to be exploited by as many films as possible (his line about aquariums being submarines for fish is another all-timer).

But like the first film, Ghostbusters ’16 is a showcase for its major players, all of whom step up to the plate in a big way. Kate McKinnon has rightfully won her fair share of accolades for playing Holtzmann – the batty engineer of the group whose lack of concern for safety is outweighed by the increasingly devastating ghost-hunting equipment she cooks up – and it’s easy to imagine her giving Harley Quinn a run for her money in the go-to cosplay costume for female Comic-Con attendees. Her casual oddness and apparent pansexuality make a character who could have only been created in 2016. McKinnon makes eccentricity sexy, finding and exposing the beating heart underneath a potentially silly comic relief oddball.

Equally successful is Leslie Jones as Patty, the former MTA worker who stumbles into the team and ends up acting as the sounding board for the eggheads. Jones has been stealing Saturday Night Live sketches from more famous faces for years now, so it’s about time someone gave her a shot to strut her stuff on the big screen. She’s brimming with confidence in every scene. She’s funny and fierce and we totally buy her instant friendship with these women.

Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy have the two thankless roles. As the straight-as-an-arrow leads, they have to balance the more ribald silliness of the other two leads and provide the emotional core of the movie. In other words, they are, by design, the two “boring” ones, the two who get fewer laughs just so they can make everyone else around them funnier. However, Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold wisely decide to make them the emotional center of the movie. There are no tedious romantic entanglements in the new Ghostbusters, but there is Gilbert and Yates’ friendship, which is on the ropes when the film starts and finds itself tested time and time again throughout the movie. In the grand climax, Gilbert literally leaps into a portal leading to the afterlife to rescue her best friend, a gesture more powerful and conniving than any half-baked romantic subplot. Welcome to the post-Frozen world: friendship and sisterhood mean more at the end of the day than winning over a love interest.

Ghostbusters TV Spots

Action, Adventure, Mass Hysteria

Because the new Ghostbusters is a major studio movie produced in the year 2016, it’s got to be a spectacle. It has to earn those IMAX screens. It’s got to demand that you see it in 3D. In terms of sheer scale, Ghostbusters ’16 is a bigger movie than the original ever could have dreamed of being.

And does it work? Yeah. Sort of. For the most part. The truth is that Feig is at his most comfortable when he’s staging conversations between his actors and putting his camera in the right place to let his performers riff until they find that perfect one-liner. His action direction here is better than it was in Spy, a warm and wonderful and frequently brilliant comedy that stumbles when action take the forefront in the third act. He has too much money and, perhaps, a little too much help from a major studio that is banking on killer action scenes, to let his more dynamic sequences completely falter. In the end, the set pieces are competent at best, buoyed by four leads who make so surprisingly adept action heroes and look really, really good when they’re breaking out an arsenal of weapons to pulverize the angry spirits of the dead.

While Feig won’t be tackling action filmmaking anytime soon, his set pieces are filled with genuine imagination and wonder. His color palette is gorgeous and any scene with more than a few ghosts is a hurricane of glowing hues. The ghosts themselves are varied, reaching across the decades (and even centuries) to conjure specters from every age, allowing our heroes to do battle with an army of the dead that is always shifting and always surprising. When Rowan takes the form of the Ghostbusters‘ own logo for a final confrontation, he’s surprisingly creepy and well-realized, a towering monster whose sense of scale is palpable.

Of course, Ghostbusters ’16 is another modern blockbuster with a giant portal opening up over New York City, which has become a cliche at this point. Let’s find a new way to threaten the greatest city in the world, okay Hollywood?

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