Director: Ivan Reitman
Cast: Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Peter MacNicol
Have I Seen it Before: Let’s just assume I’ve seen every movie released in the summer of 1989 about a thousand times.
Did I Like It: It has all the same ingredients as the original, and is still a satisfying meal, but in the end there is nothing like the first taste.
Comedy sequels are rough. Quick, name a good one. You probably didn’t mention Caddyshack 2 (1988). Or Analyze That (2002). Or The Whole Ten Yards (2004). Or Fletch Lives (1989). Smokey and The Bandit II (1980)? Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)? What’s left that can rise above the absolute laughless masses? The Austin Powers movies? Was the original even that funny after the hazy binge that was the 90s ended? Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)? Watchable, yes. Funny, sure. But not the same as the original.
So it is too with Ghostbusters II. Many—including much of the cast—have poured cold water over the second film, and I get it. The plot needlessly contrives putting the busters back to square one. There’s too much of Slimer and other elements and choices elevated by the only occasionally good Real Ghostbusters cartoon series. The notion of a Jaeger Statue of Liberty is sort of disappointing in a world that has Kaiju Marshmallow Men.
Although I admit that my soft spot for the movie may be a byproduct of people irrationally loving movies they first saw when they were five years old, but this movie is still Peak Murray, and thus cannot be dismissed entirely. I enjoy it every time I watch it, even if it is not as joy inducing as the original, or even if it is not quite as fresh as the 2016 remake. Watch it, and realize that while it isn’t perfect, it could have been truly embarrassing. That it isn’t in that low pantheon of comedy sequels is certainly worth something.