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Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Columbia)

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Crowd-pleasing gothic comedy finds a cash-strapped single mom (Carrie Coon) and her two children (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) moving into the remote, dilapidated farmhouse left to her by her estranged, recently deceased father, a seemingly eccentric recluse.

As the kids, aided by the girl's new science teacher (Paul Rudd) and the first real friend she's ever made (Logan Kim), get swept up in battling the swarm of evil spirits their grandfather, an original member of the titular ensemble of anti-specter protectors, had secretly kept at bay, mom wrestles with his long-ago abandonment of her while engaging in a wry romance with the educator.

Director and co-writer Jason Reitman ignores the 2016 reboot helmed by Paul Feig in an effort to return to the roots of the franchise (with the help of some crucial high-profile cameos) and the results are generally jaunty. But some of the jokes are coarse and an off-screen encounter, its moral status muddled by the weird circumstances under which it's initiated, is treated as fodder for fun.

Watch out for: Frivolous occult elements, implied premarital sexual activity, occasional sexual humor, about a half-dozen instances each of mild oaths and crude expressions.
Rated: A-III, adults. MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021