OK, let's answer the signature question first: Is the new "Ghostbusters" as funny as the 1984 original directed by Ivan Reitman that had Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver blast ghosts, poltergeist, and a giant marshmallow man with proton streams while avoiding ectoplasm and slime?
No, but few sequels or reboots topple the original. In this case, "Ghostbusters" (1984) reigned as the highest grossing comedy until the release of "Home Alone" (1990).
Erin Gilbert (Kristin Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) cook up cool freewheeling chemistry that's a joyful hop in the hearse ride-along. Gags and splats from the hands and mouths of the female ghostbusters stand strong as you betcha power prevails.
(Note: Our 'she said' disagrees, coincidentally stating that the new one was "almost" as funny as "Home Alone," adding the toughness of a quartet of women is underestimated!)
Opening with a haunting, the tossed from their cushy university research positions set-up delivers a smiling twisted spin on the original. It's much more serious as the ladies continually shred trolling debunkers. McKinnon's a perfect ten as a physics theorist who reminded me of James Bond's gadget guru only in oversized nerdy attire.
Wiig and McCarthy collide as non-believer and believer who frequently balk and banter about taking career risks and exploring their once common fascination with the paranormal. Wiig isn't easily convinced. She's clad in would-be tenured professor conservative suit and heels on their first two investigations. After enduring ghastly sticky slime, her wardrobe neutralization occurs as her mind moves to proving spirits exist by trapping one.
McCarthy already has it together. She's a dynamite burning fuse of gung ho ready to blast, shoot and bust. She sheds criticism as a mere drop of water sticking to ballistic, don't-question, nice, see-you-later conversations.
Jones has a slightly frazzled, always edgy style turning grandiose technical paranormal speeches into simple-minded statements. She's the just off the street contributor who happens to have a relative with a hearse to haul all that heavy equipment to subways, theaters and hotels.
You'll detect that the gals don't have the improv skills of the 80s dudes, but they stay natural and on point as green goo swirls from more formidable opponents in detailed battles.