The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Reviews
In its original format however, the film revolved around a penny pinching and mean old man at Christmas. However in the current times this wouldn't entice too many viewers.
Instead, replace him with an arrogant, sleazy, bed-hopping, alpha male playboy with crippling commitment issues played by a tan clad, torso-flaunting Hollywood frat-boy stud and watch them flock.
Now begs the question, who in Hollywood has a reputation of being a serial womanizer and could pull off the perfect Casanova Scrooge? If it was the 80's the short answer would be Michael Douglas, Sadly, Botox doesn't work forever and the abundance of wrinkles and grey hair are far too much of a turn off.
That leaves us with rom-com veteran Matthew McConaughey, with his aw-shucks act being perfected with multiple leading ladies (J-lo, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson twice) this should have been a breeze, However with a complete lack of chemistry between him and Jennifer Garner, they should have stuck with their first choice for the role, Ben Affleck.
Rich and sleazy hotshot celeb photographer Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a habitual womaniser. Generously providing his services as a one man show for the sexual requirements of New Yorks female inhabitants, Connor's hypnotic lure brings in such a plethora of companions he is forced to blithely dump on mass over a conference call.
When Connor reluctantly returns home to attend the rehearsal dinner his polar opposite brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer) and his neurotically shrill bridezilla fiancée Sandra (Lacey Chabert), he is reunited with his jaded childhood sweetheart Jenny (Jennifer Garner).
The undertone of satisfying bitterness, unresolved tension and heated exchanges between them shakes Connor's resolve. In a purposeful attempt to convince his brother to change his mind the cynical commitment-phobic Connor not so eloquently delivers a highly inebriated anti-marriage speech "Love is a magic comfort food for the weak and uneducated... leaving you weak, dependant and fat"
Reeling from his outburst, Connor continues his rampage of inappropriateness, propositioning the cougar mother-of-the-bride, attempting to sleep with the forth brides maid (having already slept with the other three) and destroying the cake.
After succeeding in isolating himself completely from the party, Connor is confronted by the ghost of his late Jack Daniels drinking Hugh Hefner-esque mentor, ladykiller Uncle Wayne (appropriately played by Michael Douglas). The adopted father figure of whom his legendary ladies man lifestyle is modelled.
Determined to show Connor the error of his heartlessly recreational philandering ways to prevent him from living out the same lonely miserable existence, Wayne explains to the astonished Connor that he will be visited by three ghosts (past, present and future).
Steering Connor through his entire history sexual transgressions in his so-called "lake of sex", the three phantom women highlight his misguided life of perverse no-strings crude and endless bed-hopping.
But will parading a barrage of finger-wagging jilted ex-girlfriends, showing peoples true opinions of him and revealing the wake of pain he personally caused his brother awaken him from his repulsive calloused exterior Ebenezer Scrooge life.
The unalterable cheesiness of a mans misogynistic ways is only matched by its flimsy comic desecration of a true classic. McConaughey's convincing swagger and naturally perverse man-whore bravado is so believable that the implausible transition into niceness lacks credence.
The defining highlight has to be Douglas's manipulated 'James Marley' character; his light-hearted send-up cameo of a persona is just too true to real life. His wicked impersonation of a silver-maned Tinseltown legend is cleverly repugnant and alluring.
Sadly the same can't be said for Garner. As a decent actress with the potential to be a great actress a career intervention is imminent and a better agent required, continuing in this likeable comfort zone is becoming a mirthless bore.
The Verdict: This is a breezy, entertaining but substance lacking and woefully cliché chick-flick. Dragging any male companion along for the ride shouldn't be too problematic. Simply carefully craft your pitch, approach it from the angle that it is a comedy that revolves around a womaniser surrounded by half naked women. It should be easy.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 15/05/2009