Review: Sharp lines but weak plot in Ghostbusters

Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin (Kristen Wiig), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty (Leslie Jones)
Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin (Kristen Wiig), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty (Leslie Jones)

Matt Adcock reviews Ghostbusters, starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig

You know the drill: If there’s something strange, in the neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Well, now there’s a new ghost busting team – a fractious bunch of women who have the smarts and the science to take down any and all supernatural presences, but the big question is ‘can they re-engergise this classic film franchise?’

Meet professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen ‘The Martian’ Wiig) a scientist desperately trying to distance herself from her wacky earlier days when she and her friend Abby Yates (Melissa ‘The Boss’ McCarthy) wrote a book claiming ghosts are real. The two are reunited when a ghost terrorizes a local historic mansion (which they catch on film) and so with Abby’s oddball scientific assistant, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate ‘Sisters’ McKinnon), they decide to start a ‘Department of the Metaphysical Examination’.

As more and more things start to go ‘bump in the night’, another plucky wannabe ghost buster joins the team in the form of sassy underground worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who witnesses a distressing manifestation on the tracks near her station. Throw in a dofus receptionist in the shapely form of Kevin (Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth) and stand well back as the bustin kicks into gear.

Alas just when the film has built up a solid base from which to let rip, the actual ghost-busting sections of the film are some of the weakest. So it’s ‘nice effects – shame about the plot’ but to some extent the film gets by on a few funny moments and the sheer energy of the main cast.

The plot is a sort of rerun of the 1984 classic just with the coolest bits (Sigorny Weaver’s Zuul) removed – New York is about to be overrun with ghosts thanks to the nefarious work of bad guy Rowan North (Neil ‘Veep’ Casey). There are some good set pieces but no real memorable lines, the female cast tackle the listless script however all proton guns blazing and it’s never dull, just an entirely predictable and not as fun as could have been. Parents should note that it does get a bit scary at times too.

The after-credits scene sets up a teaser that should see the girls come back for some more bustin’ antics and I hope they do because there is potential here to build a better sequel.