Not a ghost of a good idea

BY KELLY DIGGINS | MAY 04, 2009 7:26 AM

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has the supernatural market cornered, but its characters lack chemistry and the film needs a relatable story line.

For all the Matthew McConaughey fans out there — all three of you — Ghosts of Girlfriends Past will be one of the best movies of the year. The rest of audiences should think twice before experiencing the Dickens knockoff.

McConaughey plays Connor Mead, a successful photographer who can persuade any female in sight to join him in the horizontal tango without a thank you or a goodbye.

Connor hates love, marriage, and anything involving monogamy. This mindset puts a damper on things when he is expected to serve as best man at his brother Paul’s (Breckin Meyer) wedding and rehearsal dinner.

There he comes face-to-face with his childhood friend and past girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Garner). Because of Connor’s commitment phobia, the relationship didn’t work out (big shock), and Jenny has always been the so-called “one who got away.”

As Connor continues to sleeping his way through the wedding — not alone, mind you — he is visited by his dead Uncle Wayne (in the form of Michael Douglas, which raises the question, Really?) who served as Connor’s mentor and thus the cause of his awful attitude toward relationships. Uncle Wayne informs Connor three ghosts representing his past, present, and future conquests will contact him in hopes that Connor will change his slutty ways and create a better future for himself.

The ghost of girlfriends past (Emma Stone) is the first to visit Connor and takes him back to the very beginning of his childhood friendship with Jenny through their high-school romance. Connor’s personal assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf), the ghost of girlfriends present and the only constant woman in his life, shows him a developing romance between Jenny and another wedding guest. By the time the ghost of girlfriends future (Olga Maliouk) makes her appearance — I’ll let you guess what she has in store — the ending is predictable and couldn’t come fast enough.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is filled with characters that are over the top, cheesy, and try too hard for desperate laughs. Because McConaughey has been in numerous chick-flicks like this one, we’re fully aware of his talent margin and therefore aren’t expecting much from him. Once again, on that scale he doesn’t fail, but is that really success?

Garner isn’t the worst thing in the movie, but there isn’t any chemistry between her and McConaughey. At most they’re believable as old friends who had some benefits, but not a pair destined to be together.

Paul’s bride, Sandra (Lacey Chabert), is the stereotypical Bridezilla, indulging in typical wedding day hysterics that a) take all of two minutes to become irritating and b) are then consistently bludgeoned to death until the very end.

Oddly enough, it’s Meyer who appeals most to the audience and comes off truly sincere, well, as sincere as these kinds of movies can get.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past follows the standard chick-flick equation with nothing new or interesting to offer. But more importantly it’s just another chance for McConaughey to claim he’s an actor.

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