Friday, 15 July 2016

REVIEW - GHOSTBUSTERS (PAUL FEIG)


Sorry, haters. Ghostbusters is, at its best, every bit as good as a Paul Feig film and, at its worst, every bit as bad as a Paul Feig film. You'll forgive it (if you're not a bigot) most of its missteps in light of its own ability to do so, to skip past them with brazen confidence, a gleeful middle finger to the misogynists. Feig has not found a way to weld his trademark loose, lighthearted comedy to the strict requirements of the action tentpole model - an undeniable disappointment after the relative success of his last film, Spy. But this is of little consequence, as most everything that doesn't work about Ghostbusters is. Those throughlines that hold the film together exist virtually for that reason alone, with the real substance to be derived from its comedic content; sporadic running gags, ephemeral one-liners, a general jolliness that helps to make even the clunkier quips affable. Any comedy can get by as long as its jokes actually work - even get by those jokes that don't work - and Ghostbusters fits that formula quite nicely. Yet its success in this regard is almost something of a surprise: at times, it feels there's barely any substance other than its comedic content. The film is a frustrating structural mess, with individual scenes and larger sequences arranged haphazardly, both directed and edited as though to simply put something, anything up on the screen. Feig again seems to be operating on the assumption that his cast will save the day, as indeed they are relied upon to do, and reliably oblige. A particular standout is Leslie Jones, a relaxed, engaging, natural comic talent who shines even in an ensemble of capable comedians. But Ghostbusters' piece de resistance is its callous provocation of the trolls and the naysayers, finding means both essential and extraneous with which to rub their noses in their own nonsense. Sorry, haters: the ladies are having the last laugh.