TV Cream

Films: G is for...

Ghostbusters II

When he accepted the job of Head of Columbia Pictures David Puttnam, from the very start, was vocal in his dislike of Ghostbusters. No friend of Slimer he. But, quoth the shareholders, how many Istvan Szabo fridge magnets do you expect to sell over the coming twelvemonth? It was a battle he couldn’t win. The sequel had to happen. ‘It’s like a huge cheque sitting in a drawer, waiting to be cashed,’ quoth one bigwig, bluntly but rightly. As his initial haze of Kingship dissipated, Davey sensed this inevitability, and moved from outright Stay-Puft blockage to asserting his own personal ‘stamp’ on the sequel. One especially bright idea mooted an all-black Ghostbusters squad, headed by Bill Cosby. Presumably this a) ticked a ‘morally improving’ box on Puddy’s righteous mental clipboard, and b) handily got nemesis Bill Murray off the books, although it did of course c) bring even greater nemesis Bill Cosby on board, so you might be forgiven for thinking Dave’s logic at this point was well on the wane from ‘searingly insightful’ to ‘all to blinkin’ crock’. Needless to say, after Dave’s rapid departure, an expanded role for Ernie Hudson was all that remained of that little notion. The film itself is, well, as limp as a film that’s guaranteed to gross $100 million even if it consists of two hours of Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray filling in pools coupons was ever going to be. A few good ideas, a couple of good lines, but it stands up to its older brother in much the same way Bobby Brown’s flaccid New Jack Swing theme did to Ray Parker Jr’s original bouncy castle of funk. The premise is getting tired, the wisecracks aren’t nearly as wise, and worst of all it’s forgotten how to be genuinely PG-scary, as the original managed with ease in the haunted library and ‘Zool’ scenes. And as we’ve said before, that final oil painting gag is one of the worst examples of smugly inept ‘Aaaaah!’ humour ever committed to celluloid.

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