by Andrew Osborne
Well, I’m not exactly siding with internet trolls (and it will come as no surprise) when I say the new Ghostbusters is not even quite as good as Ghostbusters II (which at least had a teaspoon of recognizable human behavior in Venkman’s bitter divorce from Sigourney Weaver’s character, a bit more for Ernie Hudson to do, and some funny bits with Peter MacNicol).
I’m pretty sure I won’t remember any particular moment from the new ‘Busters five seconds after I post this (except that it featured a numbingly predictable terrible hip-hop remake of the theme song)…but I don’t really blame the cast or Paul Feig, all of whom have had their moments in the past.
The problem, as always, is that Hollywood only hires copywriters now, and the position of screenwriter basically only exists as a career option in TV and indies (sometimes).
As in so many mainstream movies of the past few years, there’s no attempt to establish any kind of believably self-contained world, however ridiculous, or characters who believably live within it. The new film is all just disconnected “bits” and callbacks (Hey, look! It’s Annie Potts being bitchy! Let me pat myself on the back that, like millions of other people, I remember things that happened in an earlier, better film!).
It’s not really funny, there are no stakes, there’s no attempt at any kind of willing suspension of disbelief. It hits the copywritten beats (“Peggy! I need 38 seconds of back story for Kristin Wiig’s character, three Millenial slang exclamations, and a 43-second Dan Aykroyd cameo on my desk by noon!”). It’s at least relatively well-paced, there’s a handful of laughs, it’s not aggressively painful to watch, and there are pretty colors. And that’s all you have to do to make millions of dollars in Hollywood these days.