#VicksFlicks Special Edition: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Review: Bustin’ doesn’t make us feel all that good in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

2.5 out of 5 stars

Bustin’ doesn’t make us feel all that good in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, a dispiriting and frustrating sequel that so badly wants to take us back to the feels of the 1984 original. Jason Reitman still is very much involved with this one, but he slides the director chair over to Gil Kinan, who co-wrote this as well as Afterlife with Reitman. He’s in total fan service mode here, though I don’t hate him for it. It’s pretty fun when spotting the numerous nods to the first two Ghostbusters from the 80s. Plus, there’s a sense of excitement for the Ghostbusters to be back in New York City and living in the iconic firehouse. But nostalgia can only take Frozen Empire so far and it certainly shows.

Too much of what we see is empty and unnecessary. Not only is the emotional core that was built in the previous one all but gone, the story itself is overstuffed and heavily explained with bland-looking ghosts and a severe lack of character development. The performances are all over the place with none of them being particularly compelling. Paul Rudd is his usual charming self but does nothing we haven’t seen before in better movies. Carrie Coon gets to be the mom who hates fun. How boring. Finn Wolfhard gets to share his scenes with Slimer, so he has that going for him.

McKenna Grace is a terrific young actress and remains the highlight of these new movies, but her character feels somewhat demoted this time around with a subplot that accomplishes nothing. Kumail Nanjiani is undeniably the scene-stealer of the bunch, getting the biggest laughs. As far the OGs go – Kinan gets them way more involved in the action here, though Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson appear to be the only ones who give a damn. Bill Murray is basically sleepwalking with a proton pack on.

Kinan and Reitman showed true promise with Afterlife, remembering what made these movies entertaining four decades ago when Jason’s dad, the late Ivan Reitman, was at the helm. Unfortunately, it feels as though they have quickly forgotten, at least partially. The goofiness audiences adore isn’t lost and there are some good jokes thrown in, too. However, there needs to be more to latch on to besides familiar faces and places. With Frozen Empire, the Ectomobile takes a slight turn and is heading in the wrong direction.

Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.

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