Five years separate the first film and this sequel, both in real-time and in the film’s continuity. And those five years have not been exactly kind to foursome, both in the film’s narrative and the final product. Ghostbusters II is a prime example of a sequel providing diminishing returns.
Sure, it has its moments, but they’re few and far between. Much of it just isn’t funny, tonally its all over the map, and several cast members are sacked with limp plots. What exactly do these films have against Ernie Hudson? Why is Sigourney Weaver sacked with a rekindled romance, single motherhood, and a creepy boss? It’s like every 80s working woman cliché rolled into one role. A romance was all they could think to give Rick Moranis and Annie Potts? At least Peter MacNicol is wandering around chewing up the scenery to provide maximum enjoyment.
Ghostbusters II feels like two different films vying for dominance and attention at the exact same time. There’s one that’s more akin to mildly vulgar, slightly juvenile original, and another that’s got kid gloves on that plays like a real-life cartoon. These two modes are never reconciled, and the film bounces back and forth between them so often you’re afraid the reels will rip themselves in half as they move towards opposing goals.
Who you gonna call? Not these guys.