Winsome stars can’t save this dickens update
April 30, 2009
As the creative talent in Hollywood continues to dry up, some studios will rip off classic works or at least try. In this movie, it’s Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” But instead of Christmas, it’s the story about sexaholic photographer Connor Mean (Matthew McConaughey) who is best man to his younger brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer) even though he despises the whole concept of marriage and the notion of going through life married to one person.
Too bad the descendants of Dickens weren’t around to haunt the writers responsible for this piece of filmmaking. It’s not fair because during these tough times the whole idea of going out to see a movie is to escape the harsh reality outside. With “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” it’s difficult to decide which is worse: swine flu, the economy or this movie?
Now I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn’t too long ago that those participating in casual sex relationships had to show some responsibility by either using condoms or letting their partner know in advance that they’re not exclusive. Teens watching this flick will probably think it’s all right to just go to bed with anyone available and roll the dice, baby.
The movie tries to redeem itself showing that Connor had feelings all along for his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Jennifer Garner) and that his behavior really is the result of her spurning Conner while they were still both in middle school. Yeah, whatever.
The filmmakers also try to make up for their shortsighted plot by letting us know that Connor and his younger brother are all that’s left of their family unit. Nice try but no handkerchiefs will work this time. Connor actually believes that his jerky ways were taught to him by his uncle who taught him the ways of snagging women. Well, actually it’s the ghost of his late uncle. Played by Michael Douglas (who must have lost a bet to appear in this movie), he returns as the main ghost and just like the Dickens classic is told he will be visited by three ghosts all having to do with yep, you guessed it, ghosts of girlfriends past. That’s my favorite thing now when watching movies, especially the bad ones. When will the title of the movie pop up in conversation reminding us of what it is we’re watching?
I can’t figure out why Garner would be in this movie. Hasn’t she seen enough bad movies starring her husband Ben Affleck? Maybe she took the role so he wouldn’t feel alone and thought she could maybe take home a few Razzie Awards to go along with her husband’s collection.
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Here’s some interesting trivia regarding this movie. It was originally set up at Walt Disney Pictures with Affleck attached to play the lead character. Production was to begin in the fall of 2003, but budget concerns and the failure of “Gigli” resulted in the cancellation of the film one month prior to shooting. That’ s probably why Garner signed up so at least she could blame her husband for passing up the opportunity to appear here. The funny part though is McConaughey. He actually comes across rather convincingly as a jerk and you have to wonder if he had to study at all for this part. Director Mark Waters should have taken a lesson from his 2002 movie, “Warning: Parental Advisory.” That title could easily apply to this movie but updated to read, “Warning: This Movie Sucks.” I gave it one bagel, by the way, only because I was able to see this for free.
“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” is rated PG-13 for sexual content throughout, some language and a drug reference with a running time of 100 minutes.
” Howie Nave is a movie reviewer for Lake Tahoe Action