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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or, in this case, a flock of women scorned.
Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a love ’em and leave ’em type of guy. Models throw themselves at him like flies on poo. Learning his example from his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), the heartbreaker extraordinaire loves his high-life of fast cars and fast women. Little does Connor suspect that a visit from the grave could bury him completely.
Traveling to an undisclosed location for his brother’s wedding, Connor wastes no time telling Paul (Breckin Meyer) and an entire room of wedding guests that marriage will ruin his life. “Love is a myth,” he drunkenly announces, “When did casual sex become a crime?”
Taking a page out of the Charles Dickens novel “A Christmas Carol,” Connor must relive his past, get a second look at his present and stare into his future. We learn that Connor wasn’t always such a cad. Following the untimely death of his parents, his Uncle Wayne took custody and taught the young lad his womanizer ways. Aw, the type of role model any impressionable kid should have.
Watching McConaughey in this role is like watching a hamster play fetch. Physically, the poor fellow looks like an orange beacon standing next to porcelain-skinned beauty Jennifer Garner.”The New York Times” reviewer, Manohla Dargis, remarked about the actor’s trademark smile, “Matthew McConaughey, flashing choppers so blindingly white that he could light his own premiere.” His over-the-top cocky attitude leaves no room for audience sympathy.
I cannot help but remember Michael Caine’s superb performance in 1992’s “Muppet Christmas Carol.” His portrayal of Scrooge was relatable and heartfelt. By the end of the story, Scrooge’s redemption was a welcome relief. For “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” relief came when the credits rolled.
Connor is a playboy through and through. He relies upon good looks and underhanded pick-up lines to score with the ladies. McConaughey cannot muster enough courage to take some risks instead of playing the same note for a majority of the film. The scenes meant for poignant nostalgia were so painful that by the end of the film, my reaction was what every filmmaker dreads.
I didn’t want him to get the girl.
The film didn’t achieve what it set out to do. I choose to jeer, instead of cheer, in Connor’s general direction. The script was shoddy, the cinematography lackluster, and sound unimpressive. Even if the film had an appearance by Tiny Tim, it would have flatlined.
“The Rolling Stone” critic, Peter Travers, was appalled by “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” He said of the lead, “McConaughey sold out his ‘Dazed and Confused’ promise years ago,” and added, “Seeing the bewitching Jennifer Garner stuck in the role of the good girl who will change Connor’s ways, well, that’s just sad.”
Jan Stuart at “The Washington Post” added her thoughts with this kicker, “Nothing is more dispiriting than a would-be sight gag that has McConaughey trying to balance a teetering wedding cake with his leg. It’s a misbegotten effort: How do you rescue a pastry that hasn’t risen to begin with?”
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