Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Connor Needs a Spanking

         
 

01 May 2009| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

One of the more annoying romantic comedies in awhile, but it has a few good liners. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past features the golden-stud Matthew McConaughey as a womanizer who shows up at his brother’s wedding and proceeds in hitting on every woman at the wedding party including the bride’s mother. Yet he proclaims love is a myth and determinedly pleads his brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) to ditch his bride and reclaim his bachelorhood. Maid of honor Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), Connor’s childhood love, ceaselessly shakes her head disapprovingly at Connor. Michael Douglas shows up as the ghost of Uncle Wayne, the dirty old lecher who was a one-time mentor to Connor. Can you guess who steals the show?

As you can probably guess, lots of female fans will tune in to get a load of McConaughey but the male audience will probably look forward to Douglas scenes as a refuge. Garner is a statue-esque babe not at all hard on the eyes.

In the wildly implausible opening scenes a bunch of half-naked models are dreamily laid out on a studio set while Connor, as the hot superstar glamour photographer, comes in late to work but manages to get wow-factor photos within a matter of seconds. Connor, as it turns out, started out as an assistant to Herb Ritts. No, Herb Ritts does not make an appearance in this movie.

What seems like no time at all following his professional duties, Connor is seducing one of his subjects while breaking up with three women on his web cam simultaneously. Of course, he makes every single woman feel special and unique for about a couple of weeks at a time before they’re disposed. “Are you really as bad as they say?” one lustful woman asks. “No, hon.  I’m just a little bit worse,” Connor says with a devilish wink, and of course, McConaughey does his trademark ham-and-salami smirk.

Cutting to the weekend wedding party, it takes place at one of those fantastic sprawling estates you find only in the movies. Following the rehearsal dinner, Connor meets Uncle Wayne’s ghost in the men’s room and warns him that if he doesn’t sock it he’s going to end up alone in the twilight of his life. Uncle Wayne tells Connor that he is going to be visited by three ghosts who will show him the past, the present and the future.

First up is girlfriend past Allison, a gum-smacking tart played by actress Emma Stone who is an awful tour guide for the movie – she’s an eyesore and a screech to the ears.  Going back in time, Connor is able to see from an objective point to early happy days with Jenny, his first rejection, how he developed his “game” from Uncle Wayne, and a revisit with all the women he’s jilted over a lifetime. Some of them say they were his girlfriend for a week, one in particular says it lasted for 48 seconds. She didn’t say whether it was an elated 48 seconds or not. By obligation, I must mention that the second and third tour guides are played by Noureen DeWulf and Olga Maliouk.

What Connor learns is that his brother’s wedding should be treated as a cherished rite, and that this wedding weekend is his narrow-window opportunity to reconnect with his lifelong love. Jenny though is thicked-skinned and cautious around Connor. “He’s like the Tin Man. He was born without a heart.” Will he be able to break down her cemented heart and show her that he has a genuine side of loyalty? Is there any profound truth to be found in a formulaic romantic comedy? Do these two actors share genuine chemistry? If you’ve seen enough movies, you should be able to answer two out of three of these questions without even seeing the movie. Maybe all three.

“Girlfriends Past” also doesn’t really flow all that well, it clunks along before it reaches sporadic inspiration. It must also be added that most of the supporting cast are sitcom cut-outs, featuring women who throw themselves at either Connor or whatever back-up man who seems to be the next available.

100 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ROMANTIC COMEDY / SAPPY / SPRING AWAKENING

Film Cousins: “What Women Want” (2000); “Someone Like You” (2001); “Failure to Launch” (2006); “Good Luck Chuck” (2007).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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