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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past movie poster

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Mark Waters
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer

Released by: Warner Bros. Pictures

In Short: With this brash rip-off of A Christmas Carol, what begins as a creepy look into the life of a soulless womanizer surprisingly turns into a genuinely enjoyable journey of one man's self-discovery.
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21st-Century Take on A Christmas Carol
These Ghosts Have a Sexy Side

Just as Ebenezer Scrooge before him, Connor Mead is a horrible person. He's the filthy rich womanizing New York fashion photographer whose story unfolds in the new romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a distinctly 21st-century take on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.

Casting Matthew McConaughey in the leading role as a self-involved, emotionally stunted player who doesn't believe that love is a spot-on choice. He's perfect as the story begins; so perfect, in fact, that it doesn’t take long for most of the females in the audience to start squirming and wondering if the whole flick is going to center around this altogether creepy and slightly disgusting jerk who treats every woman like trash. It's a prospect that reaches the point where running for the exit actually seems like a viable option.

And as Connor arrives amid a winter snowstorm at his dead uncle's Newport mansion to attend his brother's wedding, the flick continues to make us just hate this idiot. He begins to sabotage the nuptials, taking his jerkiness to a new level, especially towards Jenny (Jennifer Garner), the maid of honor and his childhood sweetheart, but also toward the groom and bride, too.

Devin Brochu, Emma Stone, Matthew McConaughey and Michael Douglas in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey and Daniel Sunjata in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Happily, it is then that the movie shifts and begins Connor's journey into his sad past and scary future, first with the visitation of his deceased uncle (played by Michael Douglas, who is also perfectly cast), the original player-scoundrel that Connor has always held up as a personal role model. That unnerving visitation is soon followed by three Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, who take him on a trip that closely mimics the A Christmas Carol theme, but in this version is filled with lots of sex, some funny sequences, and a number of telling moments.

When all is said and done, the ending will not be much of a surprise for anyone that knows the source material or has ever seen a romantic comedy made in Hollywood. But the good news is that the journey is ultimately worth taking, and when the credits roll, we actually like the man that Connor Mead has become. And we like the movie, too. It's a deft turn that director Mark Waters and his well-cast group of actors pull off.

By the way, make sure to listen closely to the throwaway asides that crop up throughout the movie; many of those off-camera comments are the funniest lines in the film.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated: 05/01/09 KR)

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