Thursday, August 3, 2017

Film Friday: Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016)

I'm always leery of watching a parody of a classic film because there is always the danger that the parody will expose that one problem you always overlooked and suddenly you can't see the original without seeing the parody. There's no danger of that here, however. This film steals every single idea from Ghostbusters and a few from Men in Black, but handles them so poorly you'll never connect it with the originals. What? This wasn't a parody? Huh. Ok. What was it then?

It was a cash grab.


The story starts with a chick professor not getting tenure at her college because she wrote a book about ghosts a decade ago. This is not even close to believable. To fix this, she goes to the fat chick to make her stop selling the book at Amazon. Fat jokes ensue as Fat Girl argues with the Chinese delivery man. A minute or so into this, we have our first fart joke, which Judd Apatow's ghost turns into a female-front-side "fart" joke. And we're off on our magical journey.
From this point, we meet the lesbian chick and the black chick and we go through every single plot point from the original Ghostbusters film only done far less interestingly and far less competently. In a series of scenes, the girls get fired from their college, move into a new building, get a car, round up a ghost, do a much-used crowd surfing joke, hire a stupid secretary, meet the mayor, and fight the villain. As they do this, we are bored with treated to an origin story of every piece of hardware, every bit of music, every character, and every original image from the original Ghostbusters. We are also abused with treated to cameos from each of the original characters in the first film. In fact, there are so many it starts to feel like that is why they made the film.
Eventually, they beat the villain while blowing up a building in New York City and then the film ends with them as ambiguous heroes while Eyecandy Boy eats a sandwich and you wonder how to get the time you lost back.


So where do we start to discuss this turd? Well, let's start with this. If you thought Bridesmaids was great, then this is probably the film for you. It's vapid, childish, tired and completely stolen. No new ground will be trod. The scenes bump together reasonable well, and they do so without asking you to use your brain. They just lurch from fat jokes to black jokes to fart jokes to sexism jokes to "I's so stupid" jokes. Good times. There is no dramatic tension to ruin any of it for you, and no demanding plot you need to keep track of. This is a film for retards.
For the rest of you, here's the deal. The film is watchable in the sense that most mindless ripoffs are. The scenes make sense in the order in which they are shot. The characters act like they are in the movie. The story moves from start to finish and wraps up without any huge mistakes. The effects are a step above what you see in the made-for-Sci-Fi-Channel films. And to keep you entertained the director steals every singe idea or image from Ghostbusters and a couple from Men in Black and dangles them in front of you to keep you from walking out. Oh look, shiny.

That said, the film is desperately not funny. Like most of the other films these losers have done, it is ad-libbed for the most part and none of them really have the skill to pull that off. I truly don't remember a single laugh. The jokes are awful and have no relation to the story: the fat girl is fat! the gay girl is gay! the black girl speaks ethnic gibberish! he's wearing glasses without glass... OMG?! He does logos, but they stink... they stink! The Chinese food arrives fast because they work above the restaurant! OMG that's funny! A minute long moronic argument about whether you can put a cat back in a bag after it is out of the bag. Ouch my sides! Please stop!

The villain is so forgettable you keep forgetting who he is until he appears on screen again... and even then you don't care. The characters are non-existent. The plot is for nought. You start to feel dirty about how much they steal, and ironically they are being nasty to most of it. They have real anger for the original film.
So what about the politics? This film is pretty despicable in that regard. It shits all over the original with tremendous anger and it does so in the name of a sort of vague "gurl power" theme. The girl power thing is a fraud though. These women are not competent. They don't prove that they can do anything. They don't start a business. They have no camaraderie. They don't invent anything. They don't prove anyone wrong. They don't even catch a ghost. There is not a single clever moment that makes a legitimate social commentary point. Instead, there are female genitalia "queef" jokes, males being hit in the dick, and a group of neurotic women claiming they can do "it", whatever "it" actually is. If this were the model of how women want young girls to act, how they want males to act, or what they think women can do, then women are in much worse shape than anyone knew. It's a bit like defining masculinity through Paul Blart Mall Cop.
The marketing of this thing was deeply deceptive as well, but we don't need to go into that. Suffice it to say that Paul Feig is a lying sack of shit who thought that agitating feminists, gays and blacks with an invented assault by haters was the best way to market his hack film. Hey black people, Gillette wants to restart slavery... buy Schick.

To put a fine point on this, this film is everything they said it was and worse. It is offensively political, but stupidly so. It is stolen. It is awful, almost beyond description. It is the raping of an existing property purely for profit with no care whatsoever about the people who will be suckered into seeing this film.

Skip this one.


tryanmax said...

I read an interview of Paul Feig where he talks about how he doesn't understand guy humor and that he finds women inherently funnier. A fair opinion, except that he loads his films with the most banal body humor. Overall, he comes across as a guy who got picked on a lot and, rather than toughen up, he retreated to his mother's skirts. Now he's out to show all those he-men that he's better than them by making shitty movies wherein women unwittingly demean themselves in the name of girl power.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's well diagnosed. This is all clearly a giant F-you from Feig to someone. And think you've identified that someone.

The really ironic part is that while Feig claims to like women, his actions show that he really has a very low opinion of them. Like I said, this is the female version of defining maleness through Paul Blart Mall Cop. And if Feig hadn't hidden behind the whole "we are under siege by misogynists" campaign, I suspect that feminists would have been pretty pissed at what he created.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, I've seen several interviews with Feig. He lays it on thick how they were attacked by misogynists from almost before they even announced the film to the public, and little old him was shocked and horrified but they just ignored it and plowed on through to make the best movie they could.

Except... Twitter is full of him using all kinds of four letter words to attack every single critic on Twitter. He was out there stirring this up. Moreover, almost from the initial announcement date, he's out there claiming that they're going to make this movie despite the opposition (which didn't even exist yet) to them using women.

He also said, laughably, that they were shocked how great Chris Hemsworth was at improve, that in his opinion, Hemsworth could be one of the best. This reminded me of the director of Lost in Space claiming that Joey from Friends was "one of the greatest actors of our time." No integrity in Hollywood.

ScottDS said...

I've been waiting for you to review this. :-)

Ironically, the "hot guy eats a sandwich" thing was one of the only things I found remotely funny and interesting because of the way it was set up with some random off-screen person throwing him food to eat. If the rest of the film had been like that, a little more surreal where things weren't over-explained, I could've appreciated it on some microscopic level.

As it stands, I appreciate it on zero levels.

But I do like Kate McKinnon (or as you call her, "the gay one"). The one - ONE! - thing I laughed at was her line: "It's the future, the President's a plant!" That's it. As I said in my review, she and Leslie Jones would've been better off in their own 90-minute buddy comedy.

And Kristen Wiig has been good in other things, but I simply didn't believe her or McCarthy as scientists. Has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with writing and acting. AND... I felt bad for young girls. They deserve a better movie than this!

tryanmax said...

Hemsworth, one of the best at improv? Just goes to show that Feig et al don't even expose themselves to male comedy. I mean, I'm sure he's a funny guy—acting requires a sense of humor—but he's not a comic actor, and I'm sure for a reason.

Jason said...

I wanted to make a point about the scenes showing off the equipment. The 1984 film didn’t give us an origin scene of the equipment at all. Instead, we got introduced to it through a funny exchange in an elevator:

Stantz: You know, it just occurred to me that we really haven't had a successful test of this equipment.
Spengler: I blame myself.
Venkman: So do I.
Stantz: Well, no sense in worrying about it now.
Venkman: Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

Short, funny, told us what we needed to know, plus we’d see the proton packs in action just a few moments later. In fact the whole 1984 movie could be said to give us just what we needed with no excess. This new movie? It’s loud, dumb, unsubtle, and exists only to bring back an old IP to make $$$.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, As I watched this film, I honestly expected the film to be an ok film that got off track because of its agenda. What I found was just an awful film. There wasn't a moment I enjoyed.

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, I think that "dumb" definitely applies here, but the most important word is "unsubtle." In the scene you reference, so much is said with those simple words and they are hilarious. There is nothing like that in the new film. Everything that happens in that film is tossed in your face, usually with McCarthy gyrating her body in your face as Wiig looks horrified.

Another point: you never once doubted that Egon was a scientist. I never once felt that McKinnon was a scientist. She was a cartoon cliche.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, My honest guess is that he thought Hemsworth was hot.

Walter Peck said...

So, who wants to be the first to admit I was right all along?

Hal Warren...from beyond the grave... said...

Still think I'm the worst director ever, huh?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised LEGO bothered to make a set from this movie. Maybe they just wanted something so their "Lone Ranger" sets weren't such an embarrassment.

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