Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past


Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

On the super-glossy surface, the awkwardly-titled Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past looks like a garden variety chick-flick. You've got Mark Waters, who directed both Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. You've got Matthew McConaughey, who - having played the lead in everything from How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days to Failure To Launch - seems to be Mr rom-com. However, even though it's written by the team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who gave us Four Christmases (no, seriously, keep reading), it's actually better than you'd think.

Connor Mead (McConaughey) is an eternal bachelor who claims he doesn't believe in love. Arriving in New England for his younger brother's (Breckin Meyer) Wedding, Connor tries unsuccessfully to seduce childhood sweetheart Jenny Perottie (Jennifer Garner), the girl that truly broke his heart and knows there's more to him underneath. However, he's then visited by the spirit of his dead uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) - his mentor in womanising - who explains he'll be visited by three more ghosts representing his romantic past, present and future...

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Okay, so it's only actually better than you'd think in places (like, say, the first half) due to a hugely predictable ending, but there’s at least a few reasons to watch. Chief among these is Michael Douglas' ageing stud-Jedi Wayne, who dispenses constant on-the-money truths ("the power of a relationship lies with whoever cares less") and leaves an impression beyond his screen time. Sure, Superbad's Emma Stone brings a self-deprecating charm as the frizzy-haired, brace-wearing first ghost, but it's Douglas' turn that makes watching worthwhile.

There's also some good material about how getting hurt changes you as a person, but the problem is its too often trapped underneath overly-trite sentiment and the need to please impatient teen girls. Speaking of the fairer sex, aside from the always-likeable Garner, they're not especially well-represented here as they tend to range from high-maintenance to slutty to just plain annoying. As for McConaughey, he does his usual stallion with a southern-twang thing, but never elevates the material.

Though largely a predictable chick-flick, like Connor there’s something worthwhile (sort of) under the surface.

Reviewed on: 16 Oct 2009
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An eternal bachelor finds himself haunted by romance past, present and future.
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