Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
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Production company: Warner Brothers Entertainment and New Line Cinema
Street date: September 22, 2009 on DVD, Blue Ray, On Demand and Digital Download
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Michael Douglas
Directed by: Mark Waters
Written by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore


OVERVIEW – Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past

“Chick flicks” are generally a good move for a first date: a safe comedic cushion that can gauge the humor level of the people involved in the date. These types of movies will go down in the history books of dating with the following storyline: boy meets girls (or vice versa), boy falls for girl (or vice versa), hijinks ensue, emotional character changing climax, boy wins girl (or vice versa) sealed with a kiss, roll credits and fade to black. Pretty common place. So that’s what I expected with Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

I didn’t catch this in the theaters and was definitely looking forward to renting it. So just like any other woman watching a chick flick I was in it for McConaughey (Fools Gold, We Are Marshall) and proud to say so! As the movie progressed and the story formed, I have to admit I wasn’t paying much attention since it was going according to plan. Then I started seeing a pattern: McConaughey was wearing a red scarf, he’s cynical and pessimistic, Douglas plays the ghost of his Uncle Wayne who tells his womanizing nephew that he will be visited by 3 spirits…shut up!

It’s A Christmas Carol! Well what do you know! Romantic comedies are really grabbing for some kind of framework to pull the stories together and personally this isn’t a bad way to do it. Heck at least it gets people in the seats. Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a famous photographer and a bitter bachelor who wants nothing more than the pleasure of inflicting his self perpetuated, jaded single-dom outlook on everyone around him, and unleashes on the unsuspecting victims seated a his table during the rehearsal dinner of his brother Paul’s (Breckin Meyer) wedding.

Filled with too much brandy he escapes to the restroom and, in probably the best introduction of any character ever, we meet Uncle Wayne (Douglas) in a gold pimp suit and brown tinted sunglasses, next to the urinals. Priceless! So here enters Jacob Marley (think Dickens here folks), informing our leading man that he will be visited by 3 ghosts (Emma Stone, Noureen DeWulf and Emily Foxler), to travel through his relationship history and find out how he became the misogynistic player he is now and how he lost the one that got away (Garner or Bob Cratchit, if you prefer).

The story alone wasn’t really enough to grip me, honestly. McConaughey sported the darkest tan I’ve ever seen on a man (think Fools Gold but worse ) and Jennifer Garner’s character was a bit too feminist to portray that soft leading lady that should get the guy. But Mark Waters made it happen.

Throwing in Emma Stone, who rocked the 80’s get up as Connor’s first relationship that lasted 39 minutes and personally stole the show, her introduction interested me enough to find out how the other ghosts would be portrayed. Which Waters does flawlessly: has the ability to create spice out of the ordinary tale and make it something that you don’t want to look away from, no matter how predictable and corny it is.

The witty tit for tat and stereotypes throughout the writing was a bonus and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of The Hangover know how to write funny. I truly didn’t expect the characters to be so up on their toes and have similar dialogue to that of a Gilmore Girls episode. It kept the pace quick and didn’t drag on, which can happen in a chick flick and personally I find that’s why some guys don’t like them (correct me if I’m wrong gentlemen). The director of Freaky Friday (2003) doesn’t care too much about tiny details and the logistics of execution (can other people see the ghosts?) but the man can tell cute stories.

Take Mean Girls: hot high school new girl morphs into the popular ones, blah blah blah. But you couldn’t stop watching, could you?! You just had to see how Lindsay Lohan took down Rachel McAdams and how the girl gauntlet raged. To me that’s taking something that would originally be very boring and making it viewable and rentable, not buyable.

The DVD extras are short, sweet and to the point, but surprisingly enough the only person to mention any relation to the story mirroring the Dickens novel is Garner, when she mentions McConaughey as “the real Ebenezer Scrooge”. I would have thought it would have been everywhere, but there seemed to be a general consensus that whenever the film was talked about, stick to focusing on the actors.

If they were trying to down play it, I don’t think it worked very well. The additional scenes emphasize the dirty habits of the male lead and the lessons taught by pimp daddy Douglas. With no film commentary you’re buying a revamped tale of greed morphed into remorse recycled into glorious change (oh don’t get fussy! You all know how it ends). For more DVD and Blue Ray info check out the official site.

Final answer: definitely rent it for a few laughs. Not purchase worthy unless your best friend with the 2 cats needs a pick me up after she’s been dumped by the hot banker from the bar. Think about it ladies: if every bad guy awakened to become the perfect male specimen we would have nothing to complain about and that would just make dating super boring. So let’s keep the unrealistic emotional changes where they belong: on our televisions.

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