A quick on-line search will reveal something interesting about the posters for some of Matthew McConaughey films. The artwork for Failure to Launch, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and his new one, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past are all the same! The female faces have changed along the way, but Mr. McConaughey’s pose remains fixed—back to the girl, leaning on his co-star with a cocky grin on his face. I know movie stars are particular about how they like to be photographed, but surely a man of Mr. McConaughey’s physical charms could come up with a more original pose. But if it isn’t about vanity then it must be something else. After watching Ghosts of Girlfriends Past I knew what it was—the posters are all the same because THE MOVIES ARE ALL THE SAME! Eureka! Not since Drew Barrymore has one actor recycled a rom com formula so shamelessly, or so often.
This time out McConaughey is Connor Mead, a womanizing photographer who “swims in a lake of sex” every night. He believes love makes you weak and marriage is a corrupt and hateful institution that should be abolished. While at his brother’s wedding strange things start to happen—he is confronted by his past, present and future. His past, in the form of his lifelong friend and onetime paramour Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), is very real, but all others may be figments of his drunken imagination—this guy drinks scotch like a sailor on shore leave—or are they some kind of divine intervention to force him to feel things he “hasn’t felt in a long time, like feelings”?
I don’t usually judge movies before I see them, but this one just had stink written all over it, from the bad title to the crappy trailer. When I found out that it was originally supposed to star Ben Affleck but was shelved after Gigli stunk up theaters back in 2003 my worst fears were confirmed. Could there be anything worse than a Affleck hand me down? Judging by this movie, the answer is no. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is the worst movie to come down the pike in some time.
As usual McConaughey is playing a “charming” scamp with something to learn. In this case his lesson would involve learning how to be a real character and not simply a mish mash of the worst kind of grotesque lounge lizard clichés left over from a bad seventies sitcom. He’s coasted through a number of these poorly conceived rom coms on the strength of his pecs and pearly whites but this represents a new low. He smarms his way through the first hour and fifteen minutes before busting out his sincere face for the film’s finale. If he did something, anything grin worthy along the way I wouldn’t have to bash his performance so, but this isn’t a performance, it’s simply a succession of facial ticks.
Micheal Douglas doesn’t fare much better. What was he thinking? Really. Did he read the script and think “I’d be proud to put this next my other work. Let’s see… Fatal Attraction, The China Sydrome, Wall Street and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. That’ll dress up the resume a little bit” It doesn’t compute. I expect this kind of garbage from McConaughey but not Douglas. He plays McConaughey’s randy dead uncle, sort of a cross between Hugh Hefner and Robert Evans and is just as charming as you’d imagine that unholy marriage to be.
The only real ray of sunshine here is Jennifer Garner, who frankly, should have known better.
The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is mirthless and worthless. Save your money.