Some films achieve a magical movie alchemy wherein the whole is greater than the sums of its parts. Ghostbusters 2016 is not one of those movies.
Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan, a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out.
The audience laughed out loud only occasionally, yet bafflingly at the end applauded. (Did they see a different movie than I saw, or having been so inculcated by ads and the media were they a little brainwashed and, as people seem to be now in this age of "reality programming," complicit in the pretense, as if they too have a stake in the outcome?)
Critics have rightly singled out the performance of Kate McKinnon for particular notice and praise as she is outstanding in the role of gonzo inventor/engineer Holtzmann and is the beating heart of this cast, who otherwise seem inexplicably muted, despite the undeniable talent they all possess.
Not that there weren't laughs (though not as many as you'd expect) but if their performances were circus tigers you'd never worry they might turn and eat the tamers. McKinnon's performance on the other hand was inspired madness and you better not turn your back on it!
And who made Melissa McCarthy nice? Sanded down her hostile edges? It was a mistake; this movie needed that. Director Feig and writer Dippold also teamed up with McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat, but GB2016 lacks any Ya-Ha rollicking buddy movie quality. In this film Feig is also a co-writer, perhaps that wasn't a great idea.
It feels like their performances are being reined in. Even during an appearance of the four of them on 'Ellen' they seemed ill at ease with their (obviously) tightly-scripted promo personas. What is the studio afraid of?
And the Chris Hemsworth role is just plain stupid. I love me a good comedic "dumb blonde" as much as the next guy, but this ain't that.
It's not that I hated the film, it was just disappointing. It could have been so much better, as McKinnon's performance hinted; it certainly had the talent to be. I place responsibility for the underwhelmingness of this film directly at the feet of director Paul Feig and co-writers Feig and Katie Dippold.
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