January 28, 2015

The Cast Of GHOSTBUSTERS Fills Me With Trepidation


I am firmly on record in believing that the world does not need a new Ghostbuters.  That said, such a move was inevitable and when Paul Feig signed on to direct a reboot with an all female cast, I was cautiously optimistic.  Of all the different ideas I'd heard pitched around, this was probably the least awful.

Then yesterday, Feig announced the cast.  My optimism is dwindling.


In a move we all saw coming from a million miles away, Melissa McCarthy was the first to officially sign on.  I'd be okay with this if it weren't a virtual guarantee that we'll now get a scene where McCarthy either a) can't fit into her jumpsuit, b) breaks the fireman's pole, c) stumbles behind her partners, out of breath and complaining that the proton pack is too heavy, or d) all of the above.


Kristen Wiig is still negotiating.  I guess I'm okay with Wiig since, considering the rest of the cast, I expect she'll end up playing some kind of Ben Stiller-esque straight man role.  I don't know.  I've never been as in love with Wiig as the rest of the world.  Her recurring SNL characters were always an exercise in diminishing returns.  That said, I've never laughed at that show as hard as I did the first time I saw her baby arms character on The Lawrence Welk Show.


Finally we've got two current SNL cast members currently attached,  Leslie Jones and Kate "Crazy Eyes" McKinnon .  Seriously, her giant bug eyes freak me the fuck out.  It feels unfair to criticize McKinnon based on tenure at SNL considering that I've yet to see her attempt play a person who isn't at least partially deranged.  Jones is even more of a wild card, having just been promoted from a writer to a featured player just this season.  She's very funny while sexually harassing human mayonnaise sandwich Colin Jost on Weekend Update, but I think that's basically just Jones being Jones.  She's a bit rougher in her sketch work.  I haven't seen Chris Rock's Top Five yet, but I hear she does nice work in it.  I guess this will just depend on how far Feig asks Jones to stretch her talents.

Feig is apparently still chasing after Peter Dinklage to play the film's villain, and I'm always up for more of The Dink.  But there's also a rumor (first put forth by HitFix's Drew McWeeny and later redacted at the request of Sony) that there's a Walter Peck-ish character who debunks paranormal phenomenon and that they're hoping to lure Bill Murray for that role.  Good lord, what a terrible idea.  I'd be worried about it if I thought for one second that it might actually happen.

McWeeny also listed a sort of character breakdown (also redacted) which described two former friends: Not-Egon, a strict academic (this has Wiig written all over it) and Not-Venkman, a Ghost Hunters-type who 's now working with a new partner, Not-Ray.  They team up with Not-Winston, an MTA ticket booth worker who comes into contact with the main ghost (Dinklage?).  McWeeny has this character pegged for McCarthy, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her as the Not-Venkman role, particularly since she and Wiig have such great chemistry together.

These are all very funny comedians who have made me laugh many, many times.  But they've also made me roll my eyes.  A LOT.  I was also really hoping we'd get at least one proper actress with strong comedy chops (think Lizzy Caplan or Emma Stone) as opposed to four straight up comedians.  And while Bridesmaids and The Heat both did very well at the box office, I didn't actually enjoy either as much as I wanted to enjoy them.  At this point it feels like the foundation is there for a movie that is either hilarious or unbearable.  All we can do is hope for the former and brace for the latter.