Critics: All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ an ‘Unfunny Mess’

Sony Pictures Entertainment

The first reviews for the all-female-led Ghostbusters reboot are in, and they’re not good.

Film critics from Hollywood’s two biggest trade publications, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, brutally panned the film in separate reviews over the weekend.

Even before its release this month, the updated Ghostbusters — starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon as the titular ghoul-hunting heroines — has become the most divisive film of the summer.

The trailer for the Paul Feig-directed film quickly earned the distinction of being the most-disliked trailer in YouTube history shortly after it was uploaded in March. The creative team behind the film, including Feig and McCarthy, have dismissed criticism of the film as sexist because of the backlash against its four female leads, while many critics simply said the film did not look as funny as the 1984 original it is based on.

“The unfunny mess that hits theaters Friday, like a big goopy splat of ectoplasm, will no doubt make those naysayers feel vindicated,” the Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney wrote in his review of the film. “But the fact is that an estrogen-infused makeover, particularly one with such a comedically gifted cast, was a promising idea. Sadly, that’s where the inventiveness ended.”

Rooney called Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold’s script “witless” and “short on both humor and tension.”

“It’s all busy-ness, noise, and chaos, with zero thrills and very little sustainable comic buoyancy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote that the film “doesn’t do nearly enough to innovate on what has come before, even going so far as to conjure most of the earlier film’s cast (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man) in cameos that undercut the new film’s chemistry.”

“The problem isn’t that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson created characters too iconic to surpass; the fault lies in the fact that this new Ghostbusters doesn’t want us to forget them, crafting its new team in the earlier team’s shadow,” Debruge wrote.

Still, other critics were kinder to the film; it currently sits at 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes one week ahead of its release.

Read the Hollywood Reporter and Variety‘s full reviews here and here.

Ghostbusters is in theaters July 15.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum




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