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Running Time:
1 hr. 45 min

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for supernatural action and some crude humor

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This is a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy -- even if it can't help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.

Additional Info:
Zach Woods ... Tour Guide
Kristen Wiig ... Erin Gilbert
Ed Begley Jr. ... Ed Mulgrave
Charles Dance ... Harold Filmore
John Milhiser ... Higgins Student
Melissa McCarthy ... Abby Yates
Karan Soni ... Bennie
Kate McKinnon ... Jillian Holtzmann
Bess Rous ... Gertrude Aldridge Ghost
Steve Higgins ... Dean
Leslie Jones ... Patty Tolan


Things begin fairly promisingly with Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), a physics professor at Columbia, worrying about her upcoming tenure review; the department chair (Charles Dance) is a martinet who dismisses even a reference letter from Princeton as being not quite sufficient. But Gilbert’s chances are really put in danger when an anxious fellow (Ed Begley, Jr.) approaches her to investigate spectral phenomena at an old private home turned into a museum (a place introduced to visitors with some choice quips by a tour guide played by Zach Woods). He does so bearing a copy of a book on paranormal activity she co-authored years ago with her childhood pal Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) but has since tried to suppress as a youthful indiscretion. She’s horrified to discover it’s now for sale on Amazon.

Gilbert quickly looks up Yates, from whom she’s been estranged for a long while. Abby has continued her ghost-chasing from a spot in the basement of a school of low repute, where she works with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), an engineer as well as an obsessed spirit-hunter herself. When Gilbert tells her about the supposedly haunted old mansion, Abby promises to remove the book from the marketplace if Erin will gain them entrance to it. Their visit unleashes a family ghost from the place’s basement, and when Gilbert’s excited reaction hits social media, her professorship is over and she joins Yates and Holtzmann in their quest. The trio quickly becomes a femme foursome when they’re approached by NYC transit worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), who’s encountered a malevolent apparition in a subway tunnel and invites them to investigate it. The team gets a fifth quasi-member when they hire handsome but dumb-as-rock Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as the receptionist in the office they establish above a Chinese restaurant.

From this point the movie devolves into a back-and-forth juxtaposition of scenes of the ghostbusters bickering and extravagant special-effects sequences in which they take on spirits being unleashed by a psycho janitor named Rowan (Neil Casey), who’s building up to opening a vortex that will unleash armies of nasty ghosts into the world. There’s also a sub-plot about how the NYC mayor (Andy Garcia) and his officious aide (Cecily Strong) attempt to brand the busters as frauds in order to tamp down public panic, and a turn in the last hour toward demonic possession, first of Abby and then of Kevin; but these elements offer few laughs and simply weigh the picture down even more.

Needless to say, everything culminates in a huge special-effects battle in the streets of the Big Apple, involving huge malevolent parade balloons among other apparitions, that consumes nearly a full half-hour, though it seems to go on much longer.

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