Length: 124 minutes
Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman
Cast: Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim
18 November 2021 (Singapore)
2 December 2021 (Malaysia)
26 January 2022 (Philippines)
2 out of 5 stars
If there's something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? The Ghostbusters, yes – but the strangest thing that ought to be exterminated is the irresistible urge of studios to keep churning out awful sequels to the classic 1984 comedy horror film.
The latest such Ghostbusters feature sequel was helmed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, the original director of the first two films in the franchise. But a new lease of life the son does not lend his father's creation, and there is no holy spirit in the new writing team-up between Jason and Gil Kenan.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife insipidly relies on cameos from the original cast and the resurrection of the original villain of the first film, Gozer the god of destruction, in a hapless bid to recreate the magic.
But nostalgia alone can't compensate for the awkward acting, poor cast chemistry, and above all, frightfully bad writing for what's supposed to be a comedy but is vehemently not funny despite desperately trying to be so. The action component of this action-comedy is not exciting either.
The new protagonist, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), is the socially awkward but very smart teenage granddaughter of Dr Egon Spengler, the deceased member of the original Ghostbusters team. There could have been a good coming-of-age story somewhere in the premise, but between the bad acting and cringeworthy script, none of the characters are likeable or interesting.
That's saying something, because Paul Rudd is an intensely likeable star – he's People's Sexiest Man Alive, for goodness' sake – but his maverick father figure-romantic interest role is rendered just as boring as the other characters.
The movie's idea of humour can be demonstrated by the lame and random jokes that Phoebe inexplicably keeps uttering. "How are cigarettes and hamsters alike? You don't know how much harm they can do until you light them up and stick them in your mouth." Uhhh... what in the blistering barnacles???
There are a couple of mid-credits scenes which appear to set up yet another sequel, but God knows who will want to watch that after this limp, lifeless disaster.
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