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Once the ladies manage to track this sad sack down, the movie grinds to a halt as the heavily armed group of scientists (whose arsenal has gotten a major upgrade since the earlier film) try to talk him out of destroying the world.
For Feig, who has carved out his niche in the comedy sphere by helming such distaff-led laffers as “The Heat” and “Spy,” this property offers a unique opportunity to test how a major Hollywood franchise might fare if entrusted to a female-driven ensemble — although it would be wrong to blame this side-splitting quartet for the film’s likely underwhelming box office performance.The problem isn’t that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson created characters too iconic to surpass; the fault lies in the fact that this new “Ghostbusters” doesn’t want us to forget them, crafting its new team in the earlier team’s shadow.(It’s one of the movie’s more inspired gags to flip the sexual harassment in the other direction, offering up “Thor” hunk Chris Hemsworth as the group’s straight man, an assistant too dumb to realize he’s being objectified.) And yet the one-line idea that made the original such a success — a comedy team fights ghosts — is so rich that surely Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold could have taken the franchise in a totally new direction.Instead, channeling the earlier film at every opportunity, “Ghostbusters” opens with an effects-driven phantom menace before introducing audiences to three scientists who’ve jeopardized their academic careers by believing in the paranormal.
All reboots are haunted by the specter of the movie that inspired them, but Sony’s new gender-swapped “Ghostbusters” — which substitutes comediennes Melissa Mc Carthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mc Kinnon, and Leslie Jones for the previously all-male paranormal exterminator squad — suffers from a disappointingly strong case of déjà vu.While both funnier and scarier than Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, this otherwise over-familiar remake from “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before, even going so far as to conjure most of the earlier film’s cast (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man) in cameos that undercut the new film’s chemistry.