And that’s the movie. There’s no clever reveal. There’s no plot twist explaining how three losers opened a business for which consumers had no need and then the market just serendipitously arose out of thin air, like a ghost. Instead, there’s just a seesaw battle between special effects and the deadpan delivery of lines from Murray and Ramis, who co-starred in a much funnier film three years earlier as New Yorkers who find themselves unemployed a few scenes into the film: Stripes. There’s also the appearance of a 40-foot product-placement figure in the climactic scene that somehow audiences managed not to find contrived.
In between, there are ejaculatory ghost-hunting gadgets that our three heroes spray recklessly at their prey, a Casey Kasem voice-over, and midway through the film the introduction of a black guy (Ernie Hudson) as the fourth Ghostbuster, probably because halfway through the shoot director Reitman realized that there were no black people in his film.
There’s a scene late in Ghostbusters in which our trio of paranormal exterminators emerge from their ghostbuster-mobile and are cheered raucously by throngs of New Yorkers. As if a city that in the previous few years had survived the Son of Sam and the 1977 blackout and was at the time enduring George Steinbrenner, Ed Koch and a murder rate of more than six people per day (as opposed to less than two now) would have even cared. To paraphrase Ray Parker Jr., “They ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts.”