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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (DVD, 2009) Reviews
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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (DVD, 2009)

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"Is it Christmas?" "No, It's Saturday"

May 9, 2009 (Updated May 11, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:I had fun catching the parallels with A Christmas Carol.

Cons:Can we say male fantasy flick?

The Bottom Line: You'll be haunted with regret if you see this film.


Never develop a crush on a star.  If you do, you will follow them from movie to movie whether it deserves to be seen or not.  I'll make no excuses; it was my love of Jennifer Garner that got me to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.  Now, I'd like to put the movie in my past.

Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is living every man's dream.  He has made a career out of photographing scantily clad women.  But that's nothing compared to the string of women he's left behind him.  No woman seems to be able to resist his charm, but once he's slept with them, he moves on.  Heck, he is able to break up with three women at once on a conference chat while still getting the one in his room to sleep with him.

All that changes the weekend of his brother Paul's (Breckin Meyer) wedding.  Connor is the best man, so he returns to his uncle Wayne's estate where he is reunited with his first crush Jenny (Jennifer Garner).  But as he is putting his moves on everyone around him, he starts seeing ghosts.  First, it's Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), who warns him about three more to come.  Will Connor learn anything from these visits?

Quite obviously, this is the romantic comedy version of A Christmas Carol, a personal favorite of mine.  Between that, Jennifer Garner, and the fun previews, I thought this might actually be fun.

Now let's be honest here, it had a few fun moments.  Most were in the previews.  And the references to A Christmas Carol were fun for me to spot.  There were some moments where the audience I was with laughed.  Yes, I laughed some, too.  But for a romantic comedy, it wasn't very funny.  Or romantic for that matter.  But we'll get to that in a few minutes.

One thing I did like about the movie was that Connor interacted with the real people at the wedding between the ghostly visits.  That added a nice touch to the familiar story that served this particular movie well.

The acting was uniformly adequate, but could have been better.  Michael Douglas was the best of the cast as Uncle Wayne who not only shows up in flashbacks but also shows up repeated as his ghost.  No one else really stood out for me in the cast.  Even Jennifer Garner wasn't up to her normal standards.

There were some special effects with the ghosts played for laughs.  They were great.

The big problem with the movie is that it was written by two guys.  You see, the movie was written like one big fantasy for men.  Connor and his way of life are treated as heroic, and we get quite a few cringe worthy raunchy scenes to show us just how glorious the life he leads is.  Oh, there's the requisite lessons about how it isn't a satisfying life, but every single moment in the film screams the opposite.  How else can you explain the fact that we get a long scene with Uncle Wayne teaching a teenaged Connor how to score with women?  It was pointless because it didn't advance the story, the characters, or make us laugh.  It was simply there because the men writing it thought it was fun.

The problem with this approach shows up in the climax.  Things were just way too rushed to redeem everything we've seen Connor do in the movie.  Frankly, I couldn't believe it or that anyone else would fall for it.

And don't even get me started on the fiancee (Lacey Chabert).  I get the fact they were trying to play up the stressed out bride for laughs, but some of her tantrums make me want to root for Paul to escape before he gets trapped in the marriage.  And if I am agreeing with the Connor of the beginning of the movie, you know there's a problem.

My love of A Christmas Carol makes me look on this film more favorably then I should.  Don't be fooled by the previews, this is not a romantic comedy.  Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is nothing but a male fantasy that pretends to be something else.  It isn't worth your time or money.


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