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Pains me to say this, but the only thing this new Ghostbusters busts is my dreams.

Paul Feig’s respin on the ‘80’s classic has a few hahas, some terrific effects and scary ghosts. And, oh yeah, it happens to star women. Very good women who have proven their comic chops, in Feig vehicles and Saturday Night Live skits. Mind bogglingly, these reliable superstars, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones aren’t given a whole lot to be fun or funny about. Yes, McKinnon has some moments, channeling that quiet quick talk she uses on TV sometimes. And Jones makes a lovely headliner splash, but when Chris Hemsworth is the loosest, gamest player on the screen, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on here.

I know it’s not my job as a critic to review what I wish I had seen. But this reboot, for all its summer silliness, is too important to ignore given the context. Yes, I did walk in the door, hoping Feig, who has, without a whole lot of hoopla, made movie magic for women with his terrific Bridesmaids and Spy, would do it again here. The fact that the mere announcement of this production drew aghast comments, on line and elsewhere, made the stakes even higher. Yes, it SHOULD be possible to have female Ghostbusters, for God sakes. But why is this distaff version lacking the infectious charm and irresistible sweetness of the earlier films? Feig has allowed his stars in other vehicles room to slowly and irrevocably win us over. Did somebody think here that, in order to take on the boys, women have to toughen up and tamp down any traits stereotypically thought of as feminine? If so, is that really a step forward for anybody?

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