Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Review by Jack Foley
MATTHEW McConaughey’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a contemporary take on A Christmas Carol that places sexual promiscuity above miserly tendencies as its main dramatic thrust. The result is as ghastly and ghoulish as its premise suggests.
Celebrity photographer Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a serial womaniser who doesn’t believe in marriage. He only attends his brother’s wedding to dissuade him from going through with it.
Pre-ceremony, however, he’s visited by his late uncle (Michael Douglas) who delivers a life lesson by using the ghosts of Connor’s girlfriends past, present and future. But will Connor be able to mend his chauvanistic ways in time to get Jenny (Jennifer Garner), the girl of his dreams?
Mark Waters comedy is almost so bad that it’s worth seeing, and certainly is consistently watchable in terms of seeing just how low things can stoop.
But while there’s the odd guilty pleasure to be found from seeing McConaughey’s smug central character being taken down a peg or three, there’s just no escaping the sexist tone of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s script.
Almost every woman is reduced to being either a nymphomaniac or screaming neurotic, while the men are bland stereotypes in waiting. Hardly any of the characters besides Garner’s Jenny are worth rooting for, which makes the contrived and saccharine finale all the more bittersweet in taste.
McConaughey’s central character is a brasher, more self-satisfied version of countless other characters he’s played, while Douglas’ sex-addicted uncle is too insulting to be funny, even though he’s clearly having fun in the role. Only Garner emerges with her dignity intact and could be said to have the last laugh.
As far as comparisons to Dickens’ literary classic go, the best bet is for audiences to adopt a Scrooge-like attitude towards it.
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 28, 2009