Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Beating a dead franchise

I have a shocking confession to make: I have not kept current with all the GB combinations and permutations that have sought — and mostly failed — to recreate the magic of the groundbreaking, universally beloved 1984 original (and maybe the first sequel). I didn’t see the most recent iteration, 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, starring Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon, as it somehow eluded my interest. And I skipped 2016’s all-female version because, well, everyone did.

Now Rudd et al are back for another stab at it, and it’s a very full haunted house indeed. The hook here is the inclusion of some of the original cast members — Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Dan Aykroyd and the Pillsbury Doughboy – but they’re just there for the poster, their awesome comic talents criminally ignored. Okay, Aykroyd’s having fun, and other casting bright spots include Kumail Nanjiani, from The Big Sick, and Mckenna Grace, from Gifted. 

It’s not awful. But the main takeaway is a sporadically funny, cosplay-ish, crowded, unsatisfying, multigenerational retread of dead material. (115 min)