Ghostbusters is like Power Rangers meets Bill Nye the Science Guy. Like Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Bridesmaids. Like Ghostbusters (1984) meets the year 2016. Let’s get real: there are no popular girls making doe eyes at the camera, no dress fittings, no cappuccinos and spa getaways – there aren’t even any puppies. Yes, it’s a remake of a famous 80’s classic with an all-female lead cast and a sexy male assistant, but the hashtags we pin to this Ghostbusters are Science, Slime, and Shenanigans. Strap on the rubber boots and jumpsuits because this ectoplasmic mess is 100% ready to reverse the polarity.
In the running for tenure, Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is desperate to impress her Columbia colleagues. Just before everything is supposed to go her way, an old publication resurfaces and Erin’s ghost hunting college years call her back with news of a haunting downtown. Obviously irritated, Erin address-searches her old paranormal partner, Abby (Melissa McCarthy), who, unlike Erin, never gave up the ghost. As in, she still studies them. Erin, Abby, and the mad genius/lab partner Jillian (Kate McKinnon), grab all the equipment they can carry and hurry to the site of the… sighting. While Abby and Jillian poke at machinery and wave whirly glow sticks around the room, Erin plays the skeptic; after all, she’s a recognized Columbia professor. Things take a turn, however, and soon Erin is the recognized Columbia professor who’s covered in ectoplasm and raving on YouTube that ghosts are SO VERY REAL!
So who you gonna call? Lorne Michaels, apparently, since Ghostbusters is a Saturday Night Live reunion caught on film. Past and present stars of the late-night improv parade join forces to play the stiff, the weirdo, the snob, and the tall, loud, black woman – with this week’s host: Chris Hemsworth!
So very different from the god of thunder he was born to be, Hemsworth plays the shockingly dumb but distractingly pretty assistant, Kevin. He needed a role like this on his resume. I applaud Hemsworth’s improve skills, especially when performing in front of a crowd of off-script (albeit highly distracted) cast members. Letting him take the reins in the scene seemed like the best directorial decision, since Hemsworth’s godlike glow distracts from any damage he may or may not have caused while in character.
Now, if it were up to me who would I call? Kate McKinnon. Every day with McKinnon would be like a childhood birthday party lined with whimsy. And toxic fumes. But only the fun kind! I have no clue how she keeps a straight face through lines like, “It’s 2040. Our president is a plant.” Deadpan, totally nuts, and happy lazing on the slimy side of life, Jillian the mad scientist is that special, Disney-level twinkle in the corner of Ghostbusters’ eye. She pulls new tech out of absolutely nowhere before the rest of the team have time to remove their coveralls, and gives dire, this-could-vaporize-your-atoms warnings as a subtext. How high are your iron levels? …No matter; I’m sure it’s okay.
A little campy? Yes. A little too much LED-blasting? Maybe. Throwing feminism in your face to make a point? Seriously? No. Ghostbusters had me cackling like the Wicked Witch at a Halloween slumber party because it’s a socially awkward group that’s consistently dumped on by society until they’re thrust into the limelight – then they’re slime-drenched internet sensations that are still consistently dumped on by society. These are some serious squad goals, and I’m happy saying Ghostbusters made me laugh like an 8.5/10.