"Ghostbusters" starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

“Ghostbusters” Leaves Something To Be Desired When It Comes To Its Darkest Sister

To be fair, the new “Ghostbusters” remake, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones has gotten a lot of flak – much of it even before there was anything to actual view in order to have a valid objection.

First, many had a problem with four women replacing the original four men.  In the case of that objection, apparently phallocentrism is alive and thriving on social media.

Next, people had a problem with the fact that out of four brand new Ghostbusters, the only one with no scientific training or otherwise well educated background is played by SNL’s Leslie Jones, who is of African American descent while McCarthy, Wiig and McKinnon are all of Caucasian decent.

Sure, this was what it was in the original with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, but seeing as Hudson has gone on record via Entertainment Weekly with his disappointment on the downgrading of the qualifications of his character as the one African American Ghostbuster, it would seem that if they could change the gender in this remake other changes could have been considered.

While the gender switcheroo was surely a purposeful choice by “Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig (“Spy,” “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat”), Columbia Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and executive producer Dan Aykroyd, in the way that Hollywood is much more unconsciously biased than it would like to admit, Jones’ character’s lack of an scientific education likely wasn’t so much thought out as it was just done, business as usual.

 

However, like the legal system, ignorance does not necessarily get you off with just a warning.

Seeing as “Ghostbusters” really isn’t all of that funny in the viewing – for a myriad of reasons that are wholly independent of race or gender – it more than deserves to go down for the maximum.

Perhaps if the movie was funnier, the clunky steps that Feig makes to address Jones’ character’s status as the darkest berry in the bunch might be forgiven.

In a few one-liners that feel more tacked on than organically funny, the movie points out that Jones’ character, as an ordinary black woman, doesn’t fit in with most New Yorkers’ idea of an acceptable crime fighter –  in direct comparison to her fellow Ghostbusters.

In particular, there is a hackneyed mosh pit bit that takes place during a Death Metal concert.

The bit is obviously intended for laughs but really it just falls flat, making you cringe if you take it from the point of view of Jones’ character.

That the script then tries to give Jones’ character a bit of a “see, I can contribute scientifically” moment towards the climax of the movie also seems to be trying a bit too hard to be genuine.

However, if “Ghostbusters” fails in redeeming itself on the racial tip, it also doesn’t do much for the way we ought to view the working class.

While on the surface “Ghostbusters” seems to disparage those who treat people in the service industry badly, at the same time upon closer inspection, the audience is directed to see most of these characters as weird ne’er do wells that likely deserve to be thrown under the bus and worse if possible.

Of course, it isn’t the job of “Ghostbusters” or any piece of entertainment to be all aces when it comes to that horrible buzz word “political correctness.”

Indeed, “political correctness” has been the absolute death of many comedic endeavors.  However, if you are going to flirt with or just plain ignore the norm of what’s “correct”, then it better be incredibly funny and entertaining.

Unfortunately “Ghostbusters,” littered with some tepid cameos and burdened with a general watered down feeling to the comedy, can’t make the grade

 

 

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