‘Ghostbusters’ Review: Franchise Fred Approves

Ghostbusters Review: Franchise Fred Approves


Ghostbusters is the movie of the summer. I had high hopes for the new Paul Feig movie. Spy is a masterpiece, so Feig has earned a lifetime pass from me. I will always see the new Paul Feig movie no matter what it is. I was excited to see him do for ghost busting what he did for James Bond, but I was even more impressed by the level of sophistication in the storytelling, comedy and ghost busting.

This is how you do a female hero movie. You make it about four scientists. Well, three and a very capable subway attendant. Being the world’s first scientists to discover paranormal activity is hard enough in a modern world. Then you let them have human frustrations, bumbling comedy but triumphant achievements.

There’s not even a subplot where one of ghostbusters has a romance with a client. There’s some man candy from Chris Hemsworth but the ghostbusters are all business. The love story is between Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Abby (Melissa McCarthy), two estranged friends who reunite over ghostbusting. They gawk at Hemsworth because they’re human but it doesn’t undermine their being scientists. Scientists like beefcake too, but they don’t want to date him. They want him to learn how to answer the damn phones.


The new characters seem to each represent a different style of comedy that complement each other and build more comedy through the dynamic. Wiig plays the shy academic commenting on the extraordinary events. McCarthy is the frustrated perspective because she’s already immersed in ghost stuff and waiting for the world to catch up. McKinnon is a highly animated caricature of the ultimate tech specialist. Jones is the real perspective and she’s not having any of this. Then the fifth style is Chris Hemsworth’s pure absurdity, which none of the other four can really combat.

There’s an overall comedy style that may be the Paul Feig/Katie Dippold style. It begins with the general awkwardness of social situations and builds into commentary on the social norms we take for granted in real life and in movies. It begins when Erin is ashamed of a book she cowrote years ago. She thought she’d put it behind her but the internet makes everything ever present. So yes, good thing it leads her to become a ghostbuster but it speaks to a very real fear of outliving your past.

There’s a “your momma” joke that’s really about your momma jokes in general so it’s meta in that way. Gravitas over the afterlife is mocked when it is revealed to be a misunderstanding that common sense should have explained before it got that far. I hate scenes where girls get together and lip sync into hair brushes. Ghostbusters did me a solid and turned that scene into a dangerous fire hazard. And there’s a fart joke!


When they get to busting ghosts, the action is epic. The worry was that a modern movie would just throw a lot of CGI in place of optical effects. The ghosts may be CGI because that’s the way movies are made now, but each sequences establishes a clear antagonist in the spirit, the limitations or expanse of the location, and how the ghost busters maneuver their targets into their trap.

I really want to see more adventures with these Ghostbusters. Hopefully this Ghostbusters franchise can get more than one sequel out of it. If this is the Batman Begins for these ghostbusters, the next one can be their Dark Knight. Poor Paul Feig, I keep putting so much pressure on him.

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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  1. Ignore this review. Nothing to see here.

  2. Is this a parody review?

  3. Could you have Sony’s dick in your mouth any more?

  4. And not a critical word to be found; you should’ve put in some minor criticisms to make it somewhat believable at least. How much did Sony pay you?

  5. Thanks Fred, intend to make my own mind up by seeing the movie (before commenting on it like so many others seem to be doing) but the number of positive reviews I’m seeing are making this a more and more promising experience.

  6. I agree. I’ll make up my own mind but am glad to see positive reviews for it. 🙂

  7. This is an example of “how to lose credibility and all journalistic integrity: the review”.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  8. Did they threaten to fire you if you didn’t give this a positive review?

    Journalistic integrity?

    You are a joke.

  9. Uh, oh. The favorite target of the misogyny squad is getting good reviews. Now they go to the last refuge for losers, accusing the reviewer of being paid. Were all the positive reviews paid for? Why those reviewers? Why not all of them? What about the ones that thought it was just okay? It’s gonna be sweet watching these bigots sweat now that history has bashed them in the head again.

  10. Not going to see this because of the comments to fans by the cast and crew.

  11. All of this cause he liked a movie that you didn’t even watched? Stop being an stupid asshole.

  12. ROFL.

    Not a chance.

  13. Aww muffin, did your leash holder teach those big labels?

    They don’t win arguments just cause you say them you know? Even if you were convinced by your faux progressive cult that they do.

  14. Uh oh. Le white knight has arrived to throw terms like bigot around because people have different opinions then his!

  15. See, son, this is an example of an idiot. He doesn’t watch the movie and critic who likes. Don’t approach him, this may be contagious.

  16. Movie of the Summer….really? are things that bad?

  17. you sir, are no journalist. Stop calling yourself one.

    P.S. Movie of the summer? How high are you? And where can I get whatever you’re on?

  18. *than

  19. I don’t get the reference to the fart joke. Is it supposed to be sarcastic? Why would that be a positive?

  20. This is not the movie of the summer by any stretch of the imagination but this review certainly is the review of the summer. Thanks for the laughs this review is far more funner than this film could ever hope to be.

  21. Against my better judgment I took my mother to see this yesterday, she is a big fan of McCarthy, and quite simply this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. We sat there in a nearly full theatre and not one laugh could barely be heard. In fact, the only time there was a noticeable reaction was when Murray showed up. Unfortunately, it seemed like he was just mailing it in, of course it could have just been the awful script. Let’s put it this way, if this film starred Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco and Kevin Hart and everything else remained the same, this film would have been EVISCERATED by the critics. The sophomoric attempts at humor was just atrociois and lazy. From fart jokes, shooting a ghost in the penis, a Bahama shirt wearing dean who did a 45 second gimmick on flipping the bird to some ridiculously awful dance routine at the end of the film and of course popping a Stay Puft ghost balloon with a Swiss army knife by stabbing him in the behind, this was just bad, bad, bad. The only time I got a laugh was Annie Potts re-hashing her famous line from the original and a bit with Dan Aykroyd as a cab driver-who sounded like he knew more about ghosts with his quick description of a level 5 spectre than any of the ladies did. The rest of the time it was utter silence from me and my mother who said the movie was ‘really stupid’ and felt very let down by one of her favorite actresses. Sorry, but anyone who gave this movie a positive review, and those who had any opinion that this was better than the original, just doesn’t have a clue, or-in fact-are just trying to prop up a bad film for outside reasons. Just awful.

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