Charles Dickens could be considered somewhat of a romantic but it was buried kind of deep. Digging under the surface and making some adjustments, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past turns A Christmas Carol into a bonafide rom-com.
Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a celebrity photographer that leaves a consistent line of women lying in his wake. He’s sexy, charming and confident; he’s also a committed bachelor with a no-strings policy. Based on these traits, he’s the last guy you’d expect to see at a wedding – except his younger brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) is the groom. But attending also brings Connor face-to-face with his childhood friend, former girlfriend and the one girl immune to his suave personality – Jenny (Jennifer Garner). As Connor is on the brink of ruining the wedding entirely, he’s visited by the ghost of the man that taught him to be everything he is, his uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas). The legendary playboy has come to warn Connor to mend his ways before he ends up a lonely old man. To hammer his point home, Wayne enlists a few of the women in Connor’s life to help deliver the message.
There are small twists on some of the key A Christmas Carol moments, such as the kind words by the family member that should be the most upset with him or the opening of a window and calling to a boy shovelling snow. But most of the film is a new take on the classic tale. It keeps a good pace between women throwing themselves at Connor, Connor hitting on women and bursts of comedy. A slow down occurs during a montage of Connor’s only real relationship but it’s forgivable. An amusing moment comes when the bride (Lacey Chabert) has a fig-induced panic attack. The laughs are not going to have you rolling the aisles but they keep the film going.
The film relies heavily on McConaughey’s charisma and he delivers at every turn. He even indulges in a little slapstick, which elicits the cheap laugh it intends. Of course, if you, for whatever reason, don’t like People’s sexiest man alive (2005) there isn’t a lot else to bring you to this movie. The supporting cast is wonderful, particularly the bride’s parents played by Robert Forster and Anne Archer. Also, Emma Stone plays the excitable 16-year-old ghost of girlfriends past who is trapped in a 1980s denim-and-lace outfit and often steals the scene from McConaughey.
Spring is here; love is in the air – and it’s about to take over theatres.