GHOST­BUSTERS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

Di­rec­tor: Paul Feig (Brides­maids) Star­ring: Kris­ten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKin­non, Les­lie Jones, Chris Hemsworth Ver­dict: Para­nor­mal slack­tiv­ity THIS long-awaited Ghost­busters re­boot is car­ry­ing a lot of ugly ex­cess bag­gage.

With so­cial-me­dia trolls vig­or­ously protest­ing the all-fe­male lead cast for more than a year, there have been North Korean nuclear tests that have en­joyed bet­ter pre-re­lease buzz.

So let’s get one thing ab­so­lutely straight: in no way is this that blamethe-women-driv­ers car crash all those fright­ened fan­boys so wanted it to be.

This is not to say Ghost­busters is a great ac­tion com­edy, or much of a good one. The movie has clearly been re­peat­edly smoothed down dur­ing edit­ing in re­sponse to the out­cry.

The film­mak­ers have chick­ened out of mak­ing Ghost­busters a must-see, and ner­vously set­tled for re­tool­ing it as a no-need-to-avoid.

The cast is spear­headed by the win­ning Brides­maids duo of Kris­ten Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, both of whom spend a lot of en­ergy try­ing to ex­tract de­cent laughs from need­lessly bland, play-safe char­ac­ters.

Wiig plays Erin, a ner­vous aca­demic physi­cist who has turned her back on a life­long shared in­ter­est in the para­nor­mal with her ex-best friend Abby (McCarthy).

How­ever, when a wave of ghostly in­ci­dents start oc­cur­ring all over New York, Abby coaxes Erin back to their old ghoul-hunt­ing ways.

Thanks to the gad­getry ge­nius of the kooky en­gi­neer Jil­lian (Kate McKin­non) and the fear­less bravado of bois­ter­ous sub­way of­fi­cer Patty (Les­lie Jones), Abby and Erin soon have the gear and the team to make their one-time hobby a vi­able pro­fes­sional ca­reer.

Although the script is a rather thin re­tread of the orig­i­nal Ghost­busters, the two movies part ways very quickly when it comes to main­tain­ing a uni­fied, co­her­ent comic vibe.

While the first ’Busters was a bit of a sham­bles in most de­part­ments, it got by on the chem­istry of its leads, and their abil­ity to mess around in a way that kept pro­pel­ling the movie for­ward.

In the new ’Busters, the four femmes out front are rarely on the same wave­length for the long, and are of­ten forced by some wonky script­ing to go their own sep­a­rate ways (or in the case of McKin­non, a whole other movie) to score their laughs.

The para­dox­i­cally loose, yet un­ad­ven­tur­ous ap­proach of di­rec­tor Paul Feig smoth­ers most op­por­tu­ni­ties for set-piece scenes to rise above a pre-or­dained av­er­age out­come.

While the ef­fects-driven se­quences add fresh fizz to some very flat wa­ter at vi­tal junc­tures – and a run­ning gag in­volv­ing Chris Hemsworth as the hero­ines’ toy­boy re­cep­tion­ist stays just the right side of get­ting old – this isn’t the Ghost­busters we had to have.

It is the Ghost­busters some il­lad­vised tal­ents were lucky to get away with.

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