Written by: Daniel McDonald
Directed by: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth
Can a film try too hard to be successful on every level? Is there a way to create a project that seems like such a no brainier, and then over think it? Can the effort to shine in every way cause temporary artistic blindness?
It turns out, unfortunately, that the creative team behind the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters will have to answer a disappointed “yes.” No one wanted to be sitting here writing a four-star rave more than I, as a huge Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig fan (I was so happy to see SPY recognized by the Golden Globes not only for McCarthy’s continually brilliant work, but for Feig’s film itself which revealed him to be so much more than a chick flick maestro. Bridesmaids was both a blessing and a compartmentalizing curse).
In addition, the vitriolic, misogynistic prejudgment that this film had to face long before being seen by anyone really pissed me off. So the first trailer was a bit “less than,” nothing about this project deserved these smug, armchair critics/haters. One of the many wonderful things about Katie Dippot and Mr. Feig’s script, are the several none too subtle lines that these four wonderful Comedic Goddesses get to spout out to the fictional haters of the new team. We know damn well who that dialogue (which goes from whipsmart terrific, to fairly flat exposition, to babbling confusion in this “seems much longer than the overstuffed 1:57 it actually runs” project) is for. As you can tell, my disappointment is in everyone involved feeling the pressure of not failing so greatly, that they forget for a comedy, sometimes less is definitely more. The need to serve the undeniable skills of McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and a surprisingly funny, give anything a try Chris Hemsworth calls for some lengthy build up for big laughs, which are evident sometimes, but surprisingly the many throw away jokes pay off much better and are character defining as well. This type of efficiency is truly needed, even though everyone involved scores more than a few comedy gold moments.
The fact that the special FX are so good (sorry haters), Robert D. Yeoman’s spot on cinematography, Theodore Shapiro’s evocative score and especially Melissa Bretherton and Brent White’s razor sharp editing never fail, points to the problem being the script’s inability to tell the story well, because it’s trying so damned hard to be all things to all those involved and gain an audience’s approval.
The cameos while not getting in the way, feel obligatory simply because the need to serve the many fans of the iconic original, adds to the bloated narrative and this film needs some serious trimming, not expected, all too obvious additions.
So the basic takeaway from this reboot is, with all the exceptional talents involved, there’s a pretty darned good film buried within this blockbuster imposter. Feig needs to remember, material, even really fine, well done material, must sometimes be sacrificed for a project’s potentially wonderful story being clearly told….
Side note – I saw this film in 3D XD and with a new sound enhancement. The viewing and listening experience was enhanced to exceptional levels…. I’m just saying…