Saturday, July 13, 2013

Movie #198: Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II is the inevitable sequel to Ghostbusters. It was most of the same cast - Murray, Weaver, Ackroyd, Ramis, Moranis, Potts, and adds Peter MacNicol as the hapless art restorer possessed by the spirit of a long-dead Carpathian tyrant.

So, five years after the Marshmallow Incident, the Ghostbusters have broken up. Egon is back doing research, Ray runs an occult bookstore (and does humiliating birthday party appearances with Winston on the side), and Peter appears on a terrible TV show called World of the Psychic. And then Dana (now divorced with an 8-month-old son) has a spot of trouble - her baby carriage zooms away and then stops!

The guys investigate and (by drilling through First Avenue) find a river of sludge beneath the city. They get arrested, of course, but the court proceedings turn crazy when the judge (Harris Yulin) goes on a rant that brings two ghosts back, they terrorize the place, the Ghostbusters take care of business, cue the motherfucking montage.

Turns out this all links back the aforementioned tyrant, Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg). The idea is for him to possess the baby and live again. Actually, he just wants a baby, but Dana is moonlighting as a painting restorer while taking care of the baby until a little older so she can back to the symphony? I don't know, we just kinda ride past that. Anyway, Dana's in the museum where the possessed painting of Vigo is being kept, her boss, Janosh (MacNicol), has a full-on 90s-sexual-harrassment crush, and so bam, her baby gets volunteered.

So we end on New Years Eve with a pink, blobby shield around the museum, Louis (Moranis) donning the Ghostbusters gear to help out in between snogging with Janine (Potts, who apparently just has a thing for nerds), and the guys using "positively charged slime" to animate the Statue of Liberty.

Oy. So, there are some good things, here. The chemistry between the principle cast is good, and feels like it's changed somewhat - in a believable way - since the first one. Murray is sinking into this 90s thing he did where he wasn't so much acting as mugging, but whatever. Ackroyd is, again, the best of the Ghostbusters. Weaver has better chemistry with him and Egon than with Venkman. I spent the movie going "That is Ernie Hudson, right?" because he looks so different without his mustache.

It also really suffers from the "Holy shit, the first one made us all the money, let's do that again! What worked? CATCHY SONGS! Get Bobby Brown and Run-DMC on the phone, now!" The first one wasn't exactly family-unfriendly, but this one is really sanitized. Venkman is much less sleezy (which might be good), but instead of that we get this kind of bland loser thing from him. And the Statue of Liberty thing was pretty clearly tacked on to make up for the lack of Stay-Puft, here, and it doesn't really track.

But hey. My kids liked Slimer driving the bus, so there's that.

My Grade: C-
Rewatch Value: Medium-high, it's pretty unoffensive

Next up: The Gift