If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the last…oh…two years, you’ve seen the vitriol aimed at Paul Feig’s GHOSTBUSTERS reboot. Before anyone knew anything about the plot, saw an official image, or glimpsed even a second of promotional footage, there was already pre-installed hatred for this project. Some of it stemmed from the idea of rebooting GHOSTBUSTERS at all, some of it was disappointment over the film erasing the events of the first two films and not being any kind of sequel, and a lot of it had to do with a disdain for the cast.
Thing is, the issue with going after the cast is a peculiar one. All four of the women cast in GHOSTBUSTERS are successful actors, and they’re lead by Melissa McCarthy- whose films have grossed millions, and have been at the vanguard of a wave of well-received female-driven comedies. So what exactly is the issue with casting these four successful actors? To some, it would appear to be that they’re women. It’s seemingly the only way to make sense of all of the venom, since- in any other case- hiring a blockbuster star (McCarthy), a critical darling and SNL alumnus (Kristen Wiig), two other funny SNL standouts (Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones), and pairing them with a director whose three major motion pictures- all comedies- have all been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes would lead to at least a sense of skeptical optimism.
Jimmy Kimmel brought up this theory, while interviewing the four ladies, basically asking what they think of the male-driven outrage on the web that’s been aimed at this film since its inception. Melissa McCarthy’s response pulled no punches. She went right after the types of folks who’ve blindly hated the new GHOSTBUSTERS without knowing a thing about it, on message boards and comments sections:
“Terrific fellas! What they donâ€™t say when theyâ€™re typing is that one minute after they type their mom is like, â€˜Get upstairs and take out the garbage! Youâ€™re 45 years old!â€™”
Ouch! McCarthy whipped out the mouth-breathing, mommy’s basement online stereotype. But in an interview with The Guardian, McCarthy was a little more thoughtful with her remarks. This time she commented on the idea that Feig and his stars are “ruining people’s childhoods”:
“Four women doing any movie on earth will destroy your childhood? I have a visual of those people not having a Ben [Falcone, her husband, who’s collaborated with her several times], not having friends, so theyâ€™re just sitting there and spewing hate into this fake world of the Internet. I just hope they find a friend.”
While I’m certainly not some kind of social justice warrior- I’ve had two baffling run-ins with those kinds of people in the last few months- I can definitely see where she’s coming from. I’ve been covering this stuff for a while, and the level of outrage and contempt I’ve witnessed surrounding this project has been pretty wild. And it came before we really knew anything at all. And, the part that doesn’t get spoken about much is what I eluded to earlier in this post: If you switch out the genders, and just look at things on paper, the same film doesn’t get this level of hate.
Think about it. If we look at a male equivalent, would the hate be the same? If the cast announced, instead, was made up of…let’s say…Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Jason Sudeikis, and Kevin Hart. And the director was Todd Phillips. And every other aspect of what we knew to be true was still the case- Reboot, not a sequel, set in present day with no connection to originals- would the hatred still have been so palpable?
Now that trailers have come out, there’s definitely something to complain about. I, for one, haven’t been impressed by anything I’ve seen so far. I’ve enjoyed the work of everyone involved up until this point, but GHOSTBUSTERS itself hasn’t done much of anything for me. So I can definitely understand some of the present day negativity. But what we’re talking about today is the disdain that’s been unavoidable since the moment the project was announced.
Do you think McCarthy is right for blasting the haters?
GHOSTBUSTERS comes out on July 15.