This just in, Ghostbusters, my favorite movie of all time, is finally getting the reboot treatment, and the earth-shattering surprise is that it will star an all-female cast. To me, that’s great news, because now the Ghostbusters will be passably good instead of demoralizingly uncalled-for. There’s an outside chance that it could still be great, but from what we know about it currently, 2.5 stars is the best we can hope for. Here’s why.
A funny female cast is the perfect choice
When I first heard about the decision to cast all women, even though I’d never considered that possibility before, it just clicked. While the actual women haven’t been chosen yet, I’m now stuck with the image of the front four from Bridesmaids being cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, and Maya Rudolph. Those four had retardedly good chemistry. Other combinations of actresses could work well too, I guess, but it’s a shame I probably won’t be allowed to cast this movie myself.
Before the all-female decision was announced, every time the Ghostbusters remake was discussed, I would immediately get a little nauseous and a lot angry at the likelihood of Jason Segal, Seth Rogan, and Jonah Hill not being afraid of no ghosts. Don’t get me wrong, they’re funny dudes. I like a lot of their movies. But I’m Soviet-child-with-borsht-and-kasha sick of seeing them in every comedy on the 40-foot screen.
Also, in comparing them to Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, and Hudson, it’s not a question of which generation was funnier. That’s tough to quantify and beside the point. What’s important is that the original cast was the most perfect male ensemble ever, er, ensembled. They were the Olympians of snark and faux machismo. What could another male cast bring to the story, other than some adorably boundary-pushing homoerotic hijinks and drug humor? Know what could have made the original movie about guys who see and fight ghosts less funny? Weed jokes.
The original Ghostbusters is a story about saving the entire human race from destruction and defeating an overwhelming force without any time to prepare. If you recast it with another crop of men, you’d have to raise the stakes to make it interesting, but you can’t raise those stakes because those are the highest stakes possible. By recasting it with all females, it’s an alternative means of upping the ante. In this case, the stakes are truly daunting: can Hollywood get male audiences to watch a group of non-catty women work together to save the world and not write it off as just another chick flick?
But funny women can’t make Paul Feig a good director
Paul Feig has been involved with some great TV shows and movies, but he’s not a very good director. Did you see the last ten minutes of Bridesmaids? The last ten minutes nearly ruined the movie, and I blame Feig for that. If you don’t remember, the last ten minutes involve Chris O’Dowd taking Kristen Wiig back, and before you have a chance to question whether that was a plausible plot point (it wasn’t), Wilson Phillips is performing onstage. Call it a cover up or a conspiracy, I call it lazy directing.
Ghostbusters is a straightforward, 100-minute hero vs. monster story, something that Feig has no experience with, unless you (rightly) consider the embryonic progeny of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen to be a monster. Even then, that monster won, and in Ghostbusters, I’m pretty sure the heroes are supposed to win.
It’s still an “inevitable” remake
Remakes happen, and they’re not all bad. But it’s annoying that remakes have become so normal that we frame the discussion of further remakes as an inevitability. The last three Spiderman movies had all the originality of a freshly-picked booger, but none of us will be surprised when we see the festival of incoherent boring that’ll be the trailer for the next one. Even 22 Jump Street, which meta-joked incessantly about tired sequels and remakes, is returning for yet another sequel (of a reboot of a TV show). If you don’t like remakes, it’s a frustrating, losing battle.
As lesser classics fell one by one to the remake virus (Remola?), Ghostbusters held out, but that only intensified the fever with which people chatted about it. Amid rumors and the occasional reliable quote, the remake’s existence wavered between if and when. Problem is, the whole discussion took on the tone of a clique of virile, predatory high school senior dudes discussing the remaining hot virgin holdout among their peers.
“I heard she’s waiting for the right people to be involved.”
“I heard her dad said he’d never let her do it while he’s alive.”
“Seth Rogen really wants to date rape her.”
This isn’t a reason why the movie itself will be bad, but it’s going to bug me the entire time I’m watching it, which will ruin the movie somewhat for me. Hopefully now it’ll bug you, too.