DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - DVD Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Charles Dickens is probably rolling over in his grave right now, his classic A Christmas Carol having just been raped and pillaged to not-so-romantic and not-so-comedic effect in The Ghost of Girlfriends Past. To be fair, it's not that the film isn't funny or romantic. In fact, it has its moments. The problem is that not a single character is likeable save for perhaps one and we never really care about what happens to any of them... a death knell to a film that depends on the audience finding an attraction between the two main characters.

One of the main characters is Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey), a brash New York fashion photographer and caddish ladies man who drives to New England to attend the wedding of his younger brother (Breckin Meyer). The eternal bachelor who doesn't believe in love or anything it stands for, Connor immediately tries to persuade his brother to cancel the wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, he even gives a drunken anti-marriage speech in which he says that â"love is a magic comfort food for the weak and uneducated."

ghosts of girlfriends PastThe only person not completely offended is the other main character, bridesmaid Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner) his childhood sweetheart, who knows there's a kind, benevolent soul somewhere within Connor's calloused exterior. We certainly don't see it to this point, but in any case, we learn that his attitudes about women and his playa' lifestyle are destined to change once he meets the ghost of his dead uncle Wayne (a refreshingly delightful Michael Douglas), who informs Connor that he will be visited by a succession of ghosts representing his romantic past, present, and future. In other words, here's the predictable part we've already seen in the trailers where McConaughey's character sees all the wrongs of his past and begins the transformation from miserable cad to loveable hero. The problem is that we never believe anyone could be so boorishly hateful in the first place. Instead, McConaughey comes off as some kind of confusing mélange of his character's hatefulness and the actor's amiability. In other words, we've just watched Matthew McConaughey attempt to play a mean guy, but he's not convincing enough to make us believe in the transformation... nor do we care.

We're also never really able to muster up much sympathy for any of the female characters in the film either. Most are portrayed as slutty, hateful, ditzy or shallow and seeing that the film is an unabashed chick flick, they'd certainly be better served as heroes we can root for. The exception being spirit #1, Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone), a braces-wearing, frizzy-haired teenager to whom Connor lost his virginity back in the ‘80s. She adds a much-needed sprightliness to the film as she rolls Connor back through his youth and reminds him how badly he was crushed when Jenny ditched him at a junior-high prom.

As Connor's ghost of girlfriends present is his personal assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf) who's neither a ghost nor his girlfriend. The only consistent relationship Connor has with a female, Melanie takes the bachelor behind the scenes of some New York City apartments to see what really happens on the other end of the phone after he says goodbye. And getting even more bizarre is his ghost of girlfriends future played by Olga Maliouk, an ethereal beauty who shows Connor what his life will look like if he continues to reject real love.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is directed by Mark Waters and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, all of the rom-com, chick-flick ilk. With enough decent films amongst them (Mean Girls, Just Like Heaven), it's not a stretch for us to think this film could have been better. But the story just doesn't have much energy or originality, and the characters are too shallow and trifling for us to care. McConaughey has some bright spots especially in the slapstick bit involving a wedding cake but isn't strong enough to carry the film.

Dickens is most assuredly embarrassed right now. But still, even he would certainly find himself entertained by Michael Douglas's rendition of Jacob Marley with a twist of Hugh Hefner and Robert Evans.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
2 stars
1 Star
DVD Experience
1 Star

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Language and Sound: English: Dolby True HD.
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

Supplements:

Commentary

  • None

Featurettes

  • None

Deleted Scenes

  • None

Previews

  • None

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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