‘Ghostbusters’ Is a ‘Muddled, Overwrought Mess’ and 10 More Ghastly Reviews

It’s “a raggedy-looking, thuddingly unfunny, utterly unnecessary reboot,” says one critic

Last Updated: July 11, 2016 @ 8:34 PM

After stirring up a lot of backlash from chauvinists, the “Ghostbusters” all-female cast reboot does not live up to its expectations with some critics despite scoring a positive 76 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes — and it isn’t because of the gender issue.

The film, which has been getting mostly warm reviews, follows almost the same storyline as the 1984 version. Four “busters” (women, this go-round) team up to save the world from supernatural forces. The fact that it remains so true to the original film is why some critics have given it a big thumbs down.

Although a handful are saying the film lacks chemistry between the actors and fails to make a new lane for itself.

“For all the value that may be contained in an intellectual property, it’s worthless if it can’t make old ideas feel new,” said IndieWire’s Eric Kohn.

Newsday’s Rafer Guzman said, “Unwilling to deviate too much from the original movie — it’s riddled with references and cameos — ‘Ghostbusters’ never establishes its own identity, female or otherwise.”

Read 11 negative reviews below — and click here to read TheWrap’s positive review.

Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly:
“The ladies’ most impressive talent, however, is their ability to overcome a lazy script that takes forever to get going. Coscreenwriter-director Paul Feig (‘Bridesmaids,’ ‘Spy’) feels the need to hit every familiar ‘Ghostbusters’ beat, down to the ‘look, our business is booming!’ montage. Instead of nailing a ghost at a high-profile hotel, they do it at a raucous Ozzfest concert. Jones must literally carry the movie’s best sight gag on her shoulders; the rest of the jokes are hit-and-miss one-liners — including a self-referential dig at online fanboy haters. (After McCarthy uploads a video on Youtube, an anonymous commenter whines,’ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts.’ Ouch!)”

Alan Jones, Radio Times:
“It’s worse than expected because writer/director Paul Feig‘s screenplay is a laughter-free zone, as superficial as they come, and makes the mistake of paying too much homage to past glories — except in replicating the basic charm, goofy eccentricity and zany irreverence of the template created by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd.”

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger:
“The special effects are fun, and consistent with the look of the original films. The first movie’s theme music is back, too, in parts — and so are some cast members. But none of it adds up to much more than an average summer entertainment — never bad enough to warrant the chauvinist hatred, rarely good enough to deserve the feminist support.”

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times:
“‘Ghostbusters’ is a horror from start to finish, and that’s not me saying it’s legitimately scary. More like I was horrified by what was transpiring onscreen. How could so many talented, well-meaning artists, who clearly loved and respected the original, produce such a raggedy-looking, thuddingly unfunny, utterly unnecessary reboot?”

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair:
A lot of hopes, and well north of $150 million, are pinned on ‘Ghostbusters,’ and the film is smothered under those huge, quadrant-y expectations. Its climax is a muddled, overwrought mess, full of green-screen and senseless zapping. (McKinnon has a nice moment amidst all this, but it’s cheaply telegraphed by an overeager music cue.) I am not a die-hard fan of the original ‘Ghostbusters,’ but I can at least appreciate that it’s more an admirably offbeat horror-comedy than it is an epic action movie. Feig’s ‘Ghostbusters’ tries hard to prove its place in the modern world, and in the summer blockbuster season, by turning itself into an aimless spectacular. That feels like a wrong read of ‘Ghostbusters’ and drowns out any wit and charm the movie has managed to create.”

Don Kaye, Den of Geek:
“Which brings us to the new ‘Ghostbusters,’ an amiable, moderately entertaining and intermittently amusing movie that in the end falls very short of making a convincing argument for its own existence. The plot loosely follows that of the original by essentially being a rehash of how the team — now played by Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — is brought together by the provable existence of ghosts, and how they stumble upon a plan to open a portal between our world and another, more evil dimension to bring about a demonic invasion and the end of humanity.”

Eric Kohn, IndieWire:
“Unfortunately, this quartet provides the hilarious center to a movie that otherwise has none — or, for that matter, much purpose beyond showcasing their charisma. Despite the misogynistic backlash suffered during the film’s promotion, the problems with ‘Ghostbusters’ have nothing to do with its cast. Its undoing stems from the same issues that plague so many overproduced, market-tested products that masquerade as movies: For all the value that may be contained in an intellectual property, it’s worthless if it can’t make old ideas feel new.”

Melissa Anderson, Village Voice:
“‘Ghostbusters’ 2.0 suffers from the anxiety of influence — or, more specifically, from the fear of not wanting to alienate the fans (Gen X’ers and others) of 1.0. It never strays far from the anodyne, generic humor that pervades the Ivan Reitman-directed 1984 original, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who starred with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson. All of the principal cast (except for Ramis, who died in 2014, and to whom the film is dedicated) pop up in cameos, as do three secondary actors (two made of flesh and bone, the other from sugar and gelatin) — cloying appearances that have become de rigueur in remakes but that here especially highlight the timidity of Feig’s project.”

Rafer Guzman, Newsday:
So what’s wrong with this picture? It isn’t a gender problem, as the misogynist YouTubers who blasted the film’s trailer in March would like to believe. It’s a nostalgia problem. Unwilling to deviate too much from the original movie — it’s riddled with references and cameos — ‘Ghostbusters’ never establishes its own identity, female or otherwise. Despite some amusing moments and ad-libbed lines, the movie exists in a purgatory between reinvention and repetition.”

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:
“Comparisons to the original are unavoidable. And yes, it’s a reboot, but there’s a conspicuous absence of the charming oddball eccentricity that made the original film so endearing. Most of the characters are largely indistinguishable from the original archetypes. Kristen Wiig plays the skeptical Bill Murray character, who has mostly given up on his paranormal-researcher profession; Melissa McCarthy is the never-stop-believin’ Dan Aykroyd prototype; Kate McKinnon performs the nerdy Harold Ramis role with a pronounced gearhead bent; and Leslie Jones portrays the urban, blue-collar outsider originally played by Ernie Hudson.”

Witney Seibold, Legion of Leia:
“So what we ultimately have is a goof on the original. A high concept and a big budget — not to mention stratospheric expectation — turned into a middling, somewhat entertaining summer fling. I suppose its modest success may be considered a small triumph unto itself — many other comedies this year have done so much less — but it also leaves one with a faraway sense of dissatisfaction.”