“Don’t Be Scrooged by ‘Girlfriends Past’”
“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”
Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner
Directed by Mark Waters
Let’s just cut to the chase: “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” is a lame, laugh-free and utterly charmless affair in which Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner are severely lacking in the on-screen chemistry department. The prospect of giving the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” a contemporary spin as a romantic comedy may have looked good on paper (or did it?), but on the big screen, it amounts to the cinematic equivalent of a lump of coal.
McConaughey plays Connor Mead, a celebrity photographer whose talent for snapping pictures is surpassed only by his talent for bedding women. Romance is not in his vocabulary, which explains the long trail of ex-girlfriends that lie in his wake. The only woman who ever mattered to him was Jenny (Jennifer Garner), Connor’s soul mate who long ago resisted his alleged charms and came to be known as “the one who got away.”
When Connor travels to his brother’s wedding, he gets a second chance with Jenny. But he doesn’t see it that way at first, until he gets a wake-up call from his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) — the legendary player who, sadly, taught Connor everything he knows. When Uncle Wayne summons the ghosts of Connor’s past, present and future, they take him on an eye-opening journey that will hopefully make him realize that Jenny was “the one” for him all along.
In order for a romantic comedy — or any movie, for that matter — to work, everything has to fall into place. Unfortunately for “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” nothing really does. The screenplay — co-written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (who previously co-wrote the dreadful “Four Christmases”) — never catches fire, and McConaughey plays such a shallow slimeball that you hope he and Garner never end up together (not the feeling you want from a romantic comedy).
Not even Michael Douglas can save the movie, though he certainly tries to as a tan, sunglass-wearing ghost who resembles Robert Evans. The real scene-stealer here is Noureen DeWulf, who pulls double-duty as Connor’s over-worked assistant and the Ghost of Girlfriends Present. But even that’s not enough, and coming from director Mark Waters (whose previous hits included “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls”), I just felt Scrooged. Ba-humbug, indeed!
Verdict: SKIP IT!