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Review: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner try to keep love alive in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Warner Bros.)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content throughout, some language and a drug reference.

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Emma Stone, Daniel Sunjata, Noureen DeWulf, Rachel Boston, Camille Guaty, Amanda Walsh, Emily Foxler.

Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

Directed by Mark Waters.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:


Ah, the romantic comedy...can it truly be improved? I'm guessing the answer is no, but that doesn't mean Hollywood won't keep trying as long as they make money on such movies or as long as Matthew McConaughey keeps his hair attached, his shirt off, and his weight down.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is the latest romantic comedy to hit the big screen, starring McConaughey as Connor Mead, a hedonistic and wealthy photographer hell-bent on avoiding marriage. Connor has apparently been with more women than Wilt Chamberlain, all of whom fail to measure up to his childhood sweetheart Jenny (Jennifer Garner), who jilted him as a teen when he failed to launch on dancing with her at a junior high school dance.

Connor's mentor was his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a player in the deepest sense who taught Connor all about scoring with women and all about the downside of serious relationships.

When Connor and Jenny meet up again at his brother(Breckin Meyer)'s wedding to Sarah (Lacey Chabert), the terminal bachelor does his best to ruin the nuptials by insulting the bride's father (Robert Forster) and hitting on the bride's mother (Anne Archer).

On the eve of the wedding, Connor is met by the ghost of his dead uncle, who informs him that he will be visited by three ghosts who will instruct him on how awful it is to die alone, with nothing more to show than endless notches on the bedpost. The rest of the story follows Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol plot line as Connor sees and regrets his past, present and future life, leading to a predictable and Dickensian ending.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has a few funny moments, but isn't a great romantic comedy, or even a great film parody of A Christmas Carol. McConaughey is his usual dimpled charming self, but obviously isn't in any kind of path toward becoming an acting legend. Garner does an adequate job as the independent and strong Jenny, and Micheal Douglas is believable as the Aqua Velva-wearing lounge lizard (too much type casting, maybe?).

There are also a few chuckles from Robert Forster as the father of the bride and retired Marine sergeant who makes the entire wedding more a campaign to conquer a hill in Korea than a celebratory life moment.

It may fit the bill as a date movie, but GGP won't be a first-ballot entry on many Netflix subscriptions, or make any top-ten lists, other than for those women who still get weak in the knees over McConaughey. I guess this is the kind of stuff you get on the weekend before Star Trek's release.

More on that later. In the meantime, enjoy McConaughey, if you can.

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