GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST
Celebrity photographer Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a committed bachelor with a no-strings policy. He is the polar opposite of his brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) who is about to be married. On the eve of the big event when the house is full of well wishers - including Connor's childhood friend Jenny (Jennifer Garner), he gets a wake-up call. It comes from the ghost of his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), the hard-partying, legendary ladies man upon whose exploits Connor has modeled his lifestyle. The message is delivered through the ghosts of Connor's jilted girlfriends, who take him on a revealing odyssey through a lifetime of failed relationships.
Review by Louise Keller:
There are more problems than ghosts in this charmless romantic comedy in which Matthew McConaughey's Lothario gets a lesson in the love stakes. It feels as fake as the artificial snow outside, while inside, emotions are wrapped and bundled up Hollywood style. But it is not just the storyline that drips like a wet blanket. McConaughey does not have enough charm, style or panache to carry off the role of an irresistible fashion photographer who the drop-dead gorgeous women cannot resist.
Maybe McConaughey has simply grown out of such a role. He had plenty of charm in How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days, had totally lost it in Fool's Gold, and here, as the rude, crude Connor, who believes 'love leaves you weak, dependant and fat', is even less appealing. Thank goodness for Michael Douglas who slips easily into the slick and snappy persona of the ghost of Connor's role model, Uncle Wayne. With a glass of Jack Daniels in hand as his constant companion, Uncle Wayne takes Connor on an uncomfortable journey in which he is confronted by his own experiences with past girlfriends. Of course, everything in Connor's past points to his relationship with his very first love Jenny, played charismatically by Jennifer Garner. Garner has such a nice screen presence and is so likeable, we almost forget that she is much too good for ratbag Connor, who quickly wrecks his brother's upcoming wedding and makes an unsubtle play for the bride's mother (Anne Archer in a thankless role).
I liked the scene in the pouring rain when Uncle Wayne explains it is 'all the lady tears that have been shed' for the worthless Connor. Next come the hundreds of tissues used to dry tears, and fortunately for us, the scene showing the millions of condoms is left to our imagination. But the laughs are too few, the plot is too stupid and McConaughey's Connor is too unappealing to give the premise any credence.
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GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (M)
CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer
PRODUCER: Brad Epstein, Jonathan Shestack
DIRECTOR: Mark Waters
SCRIPT: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daryn Okada
EDITOR: Bruce Green
MUSIC: Rolfe Kent
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Cary White
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 7, 2009