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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Released: 2009

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 40 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Mark Waters

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Emma Stone, Noureen DeWulf, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Michael Douglas

A romantic comedy film whose plot is based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Be ready to groan loudly through most of the film's first scenes.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 7 years ago

In GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST, Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is forced to see ghosts. This reimagining of A CHRISTMAS CAROL is mainly set in a beautifully snowy season that looks for all intents and purposes like Christmas, but the film is being released in May, which feels weirdly incongruous.

The Christmas connection continues, however, since the film's two writers, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, were last responsible for FOUR CHRISTMASES, a mildly entertaining film that was savaged by most critics. As I did with FOUR CHRISTMASES, I found GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST kind of cute. Working in its favor, this film, directed by FREAKY FRIDAY's Mark Waters, never takes itself too seriously and is filled with deliciously cheesy lines. The best of these comes when Connor discusses the lost art of "spooning" with Vonda Volkom (Anne Archer), the mother of the bride at his brother's wedding. "Spooning is nice," he tells her with a wicked little twinkle in his eye, "but not as nice as forking."

We originally meet Connor, a popular magazine cover photographer, in one of the most unpromising openings of the year. Be ready to groan loudly through most of the film's first scenes, as Connor plays an obnoxious, completely unbelievable and utterly clueless playboy. In the movie's worst moment, we are asked to buy that he would breakup with three girls in a simultaneous videoconference. "I had an amazing time with each of you," he tells them with a big smile. "I wish you all the best." What a great guy.

Luckily, the film gets much better when Connor reluctantly heads to the wedding of his kid brother Paul (Breckin Meyer). After trying to talk his brother out of acquiring the ball and chain that Connor views marriage as being, Connor starts verbally sparring with Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), his first flame from way back when they were only seven.

Connor gets his comeuppance during his visits from three ghosts -- representing his girlfriends past, present and future. As they show him his life, he is whisked around in the bed of his deceased Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas). This uncle, who raised Connor after his parents died, taught him everything he knew about girls and how to treat them. Coming back as another ghost in Connor's life, Uncle Wayne explains his presence by noting, "Players never die. They just try their luck at a different table."

Described by "friends" as being "like the Tin Man -- he was born without a heart," Connor eventually realizes that his life of fast, meaningless relationships has hurt almost everyone he has dated, which appears to include close to half of the planet. Continuing to take a light approach to the material, the movie's best moments, surprisingly turn out to be in the obligatory last act, as it turns bittersweet and downright sappy, yet strangely affecting and sweet as well.

GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content throughout, some language and a drug reference" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.