GHOSTBUSTERS — Review by Susan Granger

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The infectious charm of the original “Ghostbusters” (1964) was the goofy chemistry between bright, slyly satiric “SNL” comedians (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson) and ectoplasmic special effects. The problem with this mediocre re-make is not the gender-redo but its lack of originality, along with a scarcity of in-jokes, irony and cynicism – and a repetition of the same supernatural special effects. Read on…

The story begins as Columbia University Physics Professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) realizes her bid for tenure has been endangered by the re-issue of a parapsychology book she wrote years ago with a high-school pal, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy).

When Erin tracks Abby down, she discovers that Abby’s still chasing ghostly phenomena, partnering with crazed tech-head Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). They’re soon are soon joined by cheeky MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a walking encyclopedia of New York folklore.

Setting up shop above a Chinatown restaurant, they joined by a dimwitted assistant, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who’s hired simply because he’s hunky. His incompetence is a running joke that overstays its welcome.

The playful plot involves Manhattan’s historic Aldridge mansion whose resident female ghost starts an epidemic of psychic nuisances. While the Mayor (Andy Garcia) and his assistant (Cecily Strong) are deep into deceptive denial, culpability can be traced back to Rowan North (Neil Casey), a resentful, demented creep.

Working from a screenplay co-written by Katie Dippold (“The Heat”) and director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Spy”), it‘s packed with coveralls-clad girl-power, along with some familiar faces.

Bill Murray is a respected debunker; Dan Aykroyd’s a cab driver who “don’t believe in no ghosts;” Ernie Hudson is Patty Tolan’s Uncle Bill; Amy Potts is a receptionist at the Mercado Hotel – and there’s a bust of the late Harold Ramis outside Erin’s office at Columbia University.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Ghostbusters” is a fantasy-funny 5 – slime-time for female friendship.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.