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Susti Heaven

Brand Perfect

Closet Nomad


Studio: New Line
Year: 2009
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Emma Stone, Michael Douglas, Olga Maliouk
Director: Mark Waters
Release Date: November 2, 2009, 12:15 pm
Rating: PG-13 for (sexual content throughout, some language, and a drug reference)
Run Time: 01h:40m:38s

ìUncle WayneÖthe worldís a lot less fun without you in it buddy.î - Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey)

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I long for the days of Matthew McConaughey in movies other than cheesy romantic comedies, but here's hoping this one is at least slightly better than most.

Movie Grade: C-

DVD Grade: C

I really, really want to meet Matthew McConaughey, if only so I can ask him a single, one-word question: ìWhy?î After breaking the ice with that, Iíd go on to ask him why he continues to waste what I still believe to be acting talent on horrible, big Hollywood movies that are as predictable as they are stupid. This is the same guy that has been fantastic in Dazed and Confused, Frailty, and even stole some scenes in Tropic Thunder. However, heís also the same guy collecting a hefty paycheck in Failure to Launch and Foolís Gold. Now, along comes his latest opus, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which on the surface, makes us long for his good films, but, is actually, a bit more entertaining than I initially expected, although not by much.

Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a hotshot fashion photographer who has so many disposable girlfriends that heís forced to dump a trio of them via teleconference. Despite his declaration of marriage as a worthless institution, Connor makes his way to his brother, Paulís (Breckin Meyer) wedding to the lovely Sandra (Lacey Chabert). At the wedding, Connor sees his first love, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), the one woman heís ever seen as more than just a sex object. The problem is, he would never admit such a thing to himself, let alone Jenny, so Connor life has always been lacking something. On the night before the wedding, Connor is visited by three (well, four, actually) ghosts who set out to show him all of the mistakes heís made throughout his love life, all the while attempting to show this pig what heís been missing all along.

Even before he sees his first ghost, McConaughey sure seems to like to talk to himself in this movie. Perhaps things would have turned out better, if the ghosts never did appear, and McConaugheyís character turned out to not only be an egotistical, clueless idiot, but also a schizophrenic thatís dangerous to both himself and those around him. Now that would have been a hell of a flick! However, weíre clearly in McConaughey-Land here, where thereís no room for anything even remotely edgy, let alone intelligent or endearing. The best thing that can be said about this, in relation to the actorís other fluff is that there really arenít any overly embarrassing moments, just uneventful set piece after set piece.

Enough about McConaughey for a while, letís focus on the only at least slightly amusing aspect of this mess, the titular ghosts. The first is an apparition of the girl he lost his virginity to (Emma Stone), who takes Connor on a tour of his relationship history up through his 20ís. How the second ghost can even serve as a ghost is beyond me, but this is easily the worst of the three specters and not really even worth elaborating on. The third and final ghost (Olga Maliouk) appears in true ghostly form and, while her identity is never truly explained, the possibility of who she might be is the lone bit of the film that at least warrants some post-viewing discussion. Thereís also a fourth ghost that appears at numerous times throughout the film, in the form of Connorís Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), but his presence is to seemingly serve as an homage to Hugh Hefner. In all, the ghosts, themselves are as hit and miss as the movie itself, but, given the total garbage that McConaughey has been serving up lately, ìhit and missî is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, just when things are getting at least slightly deep with the appearance of the ìfuture ghost,î we get the totally expected, fluff Hollywood ending. Itís as predictable as they come, with McConaughey (and Garner, for that matter) being seemingly contractually obligated to be a part of the sappiest finales in Hollywood history. Plus, if you can get through Connorís Best Man Toast without wanting to throw something at the TV, then by all means, let this non-seasonal version of A Christmas Carol become your go-to movie during the Christmas season. For the rest of us, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a one and done experience, at worst. This Blu-ray release is as unspectacular as the movie, with disappointing audio and video quality, and a few extras that are really only for the filmís fans.

Chuck Aliaga November 2, 2009, 12:15 pm