By Sandra Kraisirideja
Matthew McConaughey is in his element as a highly prolific philanderer in “Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past.” Jennifer Garner stars opposite as the only woman he ever truly loved.
“Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past” takes the plot structure of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and applies it to a romantic comedy. McConaughey’s character, celebrity photo stylist Connor Mead, is confronted with the repercussions of his actions through a series of comedic interactions with ghosts of his girlfriend’s past, present and future. Turns out the only obstacles McConaughey needs to overcome in order to get the girl are his own past actions and a deep-seeded fear of losing someone he loves.
Michael Douglas is perfectly cast as Connor’s playboy uncle who is also the driving force behind Connor’s callous treatment of women. Douglas has some clever lines and looks totally at ease in the role beneath his designer shades and form-fitting turtleneck.
“Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past” was directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”) from a script from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“Four Christmases”). I wasn’t a fan of “Four Christmases,” but Lucas and Moore have done a better job with this movie. Waters has a light directorial style that serves the story and he gets excellent performances from the entire cast.
This is a romantic comedy that just may appeal to a larger male audience. It’s not exactly a bromance, but the story does focus more on McConaughey instead of Garner and, as my friend pointed out, there are plenty of hot actresses to look at who are incidental to the main story.
A word of caution for women who see this movie and think it means the smooth-talking, sexy man they are “seeing” will suddenly confess his eternal love: the only reason why Connor has a change of heart is because he’s visited by ghosts and that will not likely happen outside of a Hollywood movie.
It’s interesting to note that the movie’s most heartfelt lines are not delivered by McConaughey, but by Meyer. In the scene, Paul defends the actions of his brother by delivering a moving speech about the sacrifices Connor had to make after their parents died when they were young.
It’s a touching scene that’s made all the more fascinating because these kind of tender moments are usually reserved for the leading man and leading woman. It’s a subtle shift in the basic romantic comedy structure and is just one of ways “Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past” elevates itself above other movies in its genre.