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July 12 2016

NYT's Feminist Film Critic Orders Us to Love the New All-Women Remake of Ghostbusters

Charlotte Allen

I ain’t afraid of no ghost—but I’m sure scared of what New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis will do to me if I don’t laugh my head off at the new all-women remake of Ghostbusters:

Here’s the headline, lifted from the text of Dargis’s piece: “Girls Rule. Women Are Funny. Get Over It.”

Is this a movie review or a threat?

And here’s how we, the audience, are supposed to react—or else

[W]hatever else you can say about the new “Ghostbusters,” it’s a lot like the old “Ghostbusters,”  except that it stars four funny women instead of, you know, four funny men. In other words, it doesn’t have a lot of XY chromosomes and basso profondo voices….

OK, Manohla, if you say the women in the new Ghostbusters are funny, they’re funny.

And in case we didn’t get the message, here’s Manohla telling us one more time that the women in the new Ghostbusters are funny—get it, they’re funny:

“…Ghostbusters” is also a female-friendship movie, but without the usual genre pro forma tears,  jealousies and boyfriends. Friendship here, even at its testiest, is a given, which means that [director Paul] Feig doesn’t have to worry it and can get on with bringing the funny with his stars and toys, his ghosts and laughs.

Oh, and did I tell you that Manohla Dargis says the women in the new Ghostbusters are funny?

    Part of what makes “Ghostbusters” enjoyable is that it allows women to be as simply and uncomplicatedly funny as men….

And also:

    It’s no surprise then that Sony Pictures wanted to resurrect the “Ghostbusters” franchise in some form, just as it’s no surprise that it took someone like Mr. Feig to figure out how to make it work, mostly, by not really messing with it. Even so, what he’s doing onscreen — by helping to redefine who gets to    be   funny in movies — is what makes him a thoughtful successor to original Ghostbusters director Harold] Ramis....

There’s that “funny” again.

And in case you haven’t figured it out, there’s also a big load of that other f-word in the new all-women Ghostbusters:

In the end, these are Ghostbusters, not Ghostbusting suffragists, even if there’s plenty of feminism onscreen and off. It’s hard to know if the movie started off being as meta as it now plays, but when these Ghostbusters are labeled frauds — or crack jokes about ugly online comments or take on a fan     boy from hell — it sure feels as if Mr. Feig and his team are blowing gleeful raspberries at the project’s early sexist attackers.

And here’s Dargis’s sign-off:

    Now, if we could just get women and men to be funny together, that would be revolutionary.

Shorter version: You’d better start laughing now.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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