Weeksy’s Review : Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Well, it’s been an interesting week for me so far – managed to get my personal second C&D for the site, this time courtesy of the fine folks at Warner Bros., so what better way to soothe my frayed nerves by taking in the latest “Matthew McConaughey Romantic Comedy ™”?

The surprise here has been the advance word floating around on this one – some reviewers have compared it to flicks like “Love, Actually” (not even close) & made the claim that it’s something above and beyond the typical Rom-Com….. Errrr, sorry, no it’s a very average quality Romantic Comedy – which means that it’s light, entertaining and you certainly won’t be bored watching it, but it will sit on the DVD shelf comfortably next to “The Wedding Planner”, “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days”, “Failure To Launch” & “Fool’s Gold” as a once every couple of years watch. To say I experienced more emotion during the preview for Nick Cassavetes new film before “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” wouldn’t be a fib by any means.

But, as a typical Rom-Com, I rather enjoyed the flick, which is essentially “A Christmas Carol”, but instead of being about a guy who doesn’t believe in the Christmas spirit, it’s about a guy who doesn’t believe in Monogamy – Jennifer Garner plays Jenny, the girl who both made Connor Mead (MMcC) the way he is, and also the way he wants to be – and after the Ghost of his beloved Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) informs Connor that he will be visited by 3 spirits over the course of the evening before his brothers wedding to encourage him to change his ways – the usual comedy of errors takes place.

McConaughey plays his typical charming self in “GoGP” – but essentially he’s now playing pretty much his own stereotype on every film he makes – as much as I miss the days of flicks like “A Time To Kill” & “Frailty”, he’s found the thing that works for him, and the thing that the audiences obviously love – and he always does it well. Garner….. hmmm. I normally really like Jennifer Garner, and while she does play her part in her normal capable way here, I actually felt that there wasn’t a hell of a lot of chemistry between her and McConaughey, and given that Connor is the main focus of the majority of the run time, it almost feels like an extended cameo in some ways…. – again, I might be off there, but … actually, thinking more on it – it’s probably more the fact that it feels like a role that really could have been any number of generic actresses in the part – it just doesn’t have that usual pep that Garner brings to a role.

The supporting cast definitely make the most of their parts – I really like Breckin Meyer, so it was good to see him as Connor’s soon to be married brother Paul, and Lacey Chabert as his borderline psychotic Bride Sandra is a lot of fun – but the showstopper is Michael Douglas as Uncle Wayne, the half Hugh Hefner, half Frank Sinatra womanizer – I’ve always been a huge fan of Douglas, and this is one of those great parts that he obviously has a lot of fun with – in fact, his performance is probably the one thing that you could say does elevate this beyond a “regular” Rom-Com. On a final note, Emma Stone plays the first spirit to visit Connor, and she’s someone I’m becoming a fan of pretty quickly – from the short-lived TV show “Drive” through to her parts in flicks like “Superbad”, she’s got a great sense of fun about her, and she makes the absolute most of it here.

So – wrapping up:

1). Not in the same league as “Love, Actually”, but not exactly “Gigli” either
2). As good as any other typical McConaughey Rom-Com
3). Michael Douglas = Slice of Fried Gold

All in all, a usual fun date movie – take your partner along to show them your romantic side.