An all-female cast, goofy plot, and just the right amount of homage makes this Ghostbusters reboot a hit

// Photo supplied by Sony Pictures Entertainment
// Photo supplied by Sony Pictures Entertainment

‘Ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts.”

In a movie full of fantastic physical comedy and laugh-out-loud lines, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment takes the cake. After hunting down a ghost in the New York subway and posting a video of their encounter online, Drs. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) read skeptical comments by YouTube trolls—some of which seem ripped from the real-life misogynistic reactions to the announcement of an all-female Ghostbusters.

Any tired notion that the self-identified “ghost girls” can’t be as funny as the boys is put to rest immediately. Ghostbusters kicks off with a bang and its goofy plot races along at a perfect pace—just slow enough that it makes sense and we get to know the characters, but fast enough that it never drags and we’re never left with too much time to analyze the ridiculous premise.

In addition to the expected excellence of Wiig and McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate MacKinnon hit it out of the park as the two other members of the team. Jones, as a subway booth agent who gets embroiled in ghost busting, is big and loud and gets to be the audience surrogate everywoman in this group of weird scientists. MacKinnon is the exact opposite. As the resident eccentric who builds all the gear, she gets to turn her weirdness up to eleven and steals most scenes.

In another welcome gender inversion, Chris Hemsworth plays the Ghostbusters’ muscular airhead Australian secretary, showing that his acting skill extends beyond throwing around a big hammer and flexing his abs. The movie also features perfectly executed cameos by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts from the original Ghostbusters cast (as well as a brief nod to the Stay Puft marshmallow man).

Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which followed the structure of A New Hope with tedious repetitiveness, Ghostbusters pays tribute to its original in small and clever ways rather than being overly derivative. The result: a reboot that’s just as good, if not better, than its original.

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Directed by Paul Fieg
3 Stars

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