There is no way I will be able to write this review without showing my age.
For those who do not know or were too young to see Bill Murray as a bad actor, Ghostbusters, as the name initially misinforms us, is not about a pack of canine ghosts who are all named "Buster", but rather about a ragtag gang of scientists dressed in ragtags as they go around shooting Silly String at entities that would look at home in a Tim Burton movie.
Ghostbusters (2016) has nothing to do with the 1980s films. It isn't a sequel (that's my hair turning grey), it makes use of all the newfangled CGI that all the cool movie studios have these days (that's my back giving out from under itself), and it has Thor in it for some reason (phat's the lasht of my teeph falling out).
Yet for all the new additions and despite being set in a world thirty years older than the original films, Firewoman Slumber Party (I will call it that from now on so as not to waste valuable Internet space differentiating the films) feels right at home in the franchise and gives both newcomers and old people like myself a good reason to believe in ghosts again.
Taking place in present day 'murrica, Firewoman Slumber Party follows the tale of four unlikely heroes (and one thicker-than-a-2x4-piece-of-wood secretary) who have been brought together by supernatural circumstances and bad fashion sense as they try to unravel the mystery of why someone is bringing back dead relatives for a most macabre family reunion.
That's the whole plot, really. There isn't some new twist to storytelling, no big selling point, just a good old-fashioned reboot of a franchise that involves a gang dressed up in 90s-era baggy clothes throwing waffle irons and toasters in order to catch some of the weirdest-looking PokÃ©mon I have ever seen.
The movie is littered with light comedy, kid-safe jokes, and gags aplenty while never once venturing into adult territory or philosophical questions about the afterlife (like a few reboots I will not mention which try to STAR their franchise by TREKing them into a dark and gritty direction). No, Firewoman Slumber Party is all about staying true to what Ghostbusters was all about: B-movie comedy goodness.
There are just really dumb, nonsensical moments that will make even the most hardened PTSD-inflicted soldier smile: from snarky one-liners to random blunders that occur in the most serious of moments, this is a film that is well aware that its audience consists mainly of fans of the classic series and their children whom they have brought along for the ride.
That's what a good reboot is aboot after all: striking a balance between making the old feel fresh while keeping what made the original memorable in the first place so that both old and new blend seamlessly into one big steaming pile of ectoplasmic goo.
But will you like Firewoman Slumber Party?
If you love movies that don't take themselves seriously and are the type of person who isn't hard to please, then by all means give this film a chance. It has a great cast of characters, a light-hearted story which is a fine departure from all the grim fictional movies we've been getting, and has Easter eggs that pay homage to the franchise's past (aside from the original firemen from the first few films, there are also recurring ghosts and locales that make cameos as well... it's like a walk down memory lane for old geezers like me).
But if you're the type who would look to Firewoman Slumber Party for something new or would like to see something thought-provoking, then I would recommend you take a pass on this one.
For all my praise, the film does have its low points: it has a very paper-thin plot which is full of holes that makes you wonder if Slimer took a bite out of the script, it has quite a number of archetypal characters who can be one-dimensional at times (which can make old-timers reminisce about more classic films, but in this day and age it just doesn't work as well as it used to), and the movie as a whole just doesn't have anything memorable that will make it stand out from the other films in the series.
That doesn't make it a bad movie, though. Ghostbusters 1 and 2 didn't redefine cinema either, but they stood the test of time because they made something scary seem funny and unique at the same time. And Firewoman Slumber Party does this just fine.
You may have noticed that I did not talk about one of the underlying issues some people have with the film about its all-female lead cast, and I do so with good reason: because it is not important.
Firewoman Slumber Party is a good film, not a great one but one which you can watch with your family without fear of the youngins picking up on anything too violent or scary. It's light, funny, has an epic dance number at the end which I think should be a staple in every movie from now on, and should you ever want for a good time, you know exactly who to call (and no, I am not talking about a male stripper).