What if—and I realize this is crazy talk, but bear with me—the thing that mattered wasn’t whether this movie passed some sort of Ghostbusters fan purity test, but whether it was, you know, funny? Co-writer/director Paul Feig gathers Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon to play the quartet of paranormal scientists/investigators, on their own unique (but kinda familiar) mission to save New York City from apocalyptic post-mortem threats. When they’re on their game, this group delivers some huge laughs, with McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth (as their dim eye-candy receptionist) nailing most of the best oddball moments. And there’s a savvy, sadly appropriate subtext to having the antagonist here be an aggrieved dude with delusions of grandeur. But, like the 1984 original, the third act largely becomes an action spectacle, which not only pushes aside the comedy, but feels considerably more tired and familiar when literally every modern blockbuster threatens The End of the World. Every time Feig stops to mimic or pay homage to the movie’s origins, he misses an opportunity to do what this movie could do best: Take these distinctive talents and make something that’s more concerned with right now than with 30 years ago.
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