GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST: Charmless Effort
THE GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (romantic comedy)
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Emma Stone and Olga Maliouk
Director: Mark Waters
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: As the title suggests, this rom-com borrows the framework from Charle Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and fleshes it with a tale about Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey, above, with Jenniffer Garner), a die-hard womaniser. However, the writing is rather messy and it is even short of romance and comedy.
THE SKINNY: Connor is a celebrity photographer who loves freedom, fun and women - in that order. A committed bachelor who thinks nothing of breaking up with three women on a conference call, Connor makes mockery of romance and marriage. On the eve of his brother Paul's (Breckin Meyer) wedding, Connor tries to hit onot only on one of the bridesmaids but also the bride's divorced mother (Anne Archer).
Just when it looks like Connor may ruin the wedding, he is visited by the spirit of his uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) who warns him that he is about to encounter the ghosts of his former jilted girlfriends. He is taken on an odyssey through his failed relationships, past, present and future. Among them is Jenny (Jennifer Garner), the one woman he may truly love, who happens to be part of the wedding party.
THE REVIEW: This 'Dickens rehash' is not a total wreck. There are some interesting moments, especially in the flashbacks to the teenage Connor (Logan Miller) being shown the ropes by his Uncle Wayne. However, the amusement level slides when we get glimpses of Ghosts 2 and 3, showing Connor how shallow he is and how awful his future will be. These come with awful scenes of the wedding weekend falling apart, accompanied by the continual shrieking of the would-be bride (Lacey Chabert). The ending is hardly surprising.
I put the blame partly on McConaughey whose Connor is supposed to exude charm despite his obnoxious behaviour. However, McConaughey not only lacks the charm factor, he is absolutely soul-less. Garner is likable in the limited role as Connor's 'old flame'. Archer has an effective scene in which she lets Connor go on and on about how he'd like to "take her upstairs" but it is Douglas who manages to steal the show as the suave, old school Don Juan who teaches Connor that the only way to mend a broken heart is by continually breaking new ones..
THE LOWDOWN: Mark this as another charmless McConaughey flick after Fool's Gold.