Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)


A womanizing jerk of a man, Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey), returns home to be the best man at his younger brother's wedding. A despiser of weddings, Connor makes a mess of things, and highly upsets his childhood love, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner). On the night before the wedding he is visited by his dead uncle, and mentor with women, Wayne (Michael Douglas) who notifies him he'll be visited by 3 ghosts that night.

A unique little take on the classic Christmas Carol tale, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a film with more promise than offering, more intent than existence, and more trial and error than succeeds. I went into this movie with no expectations, I was quite prepared to watch one of the worst movies of the year... and much to my surprise I found it pleasantly mediocre. The movie falls on old conventions, yes lady that asshole does secretly love you, it's just he has lots of issues, you have to wait 30 years for him to work out in one random night/moment. So stick with it ladies, and you'll be a winner! Or a loser... it's really 50/50 at this point.

Getting a good cast was crucial to this film's success, and they just about did that. Beyond having more talent than they deserve, the people behind this film struggle to find an identity. Instead of uniquely approaching the christmas carol tale, they opt to overly simplify it, remove social rhetoric, and center everything around the main romance. It's no surprise that they do this, but they spend so much time telling you how great the main actors would be together, how much they should have been together, how often they want to be together, by the end you're practically begging them to get it over with already! There's no suspense, no fear of it not happening, and despite their best efforts, all the emotional struggle and fighting against odds that makes romance films work just isn't there.

I'd say McConaughey and Garner have good chemistry, but I wouldn't say they deliver much here. Both seem to be caught up in these same characters they play time and time again, but neither seeming to care about the film. Despite her looks, Lacey Chabert continues to hop into the Jennifer Love Hewitt hand me down type roles, and Breckin Meyer continues his streak as the background guy following his disastrous turn as Jon in the Garfield films. The rest are a collective of "why are you here" and "why are you in film at all." Ultimately I really don't have a complaint against the film technically, I think Waters does fine with what he has to work with... it's just nothing above generic.

Despite some creative aspects, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past can't avoid genre cliches, and while it manages a couple good laughs, it never escapes mediocrity.

1 better thoughts:

Tom said...

Matthew did convince me that he was this character. Michael Douglas was a little miscast. They should have gotten Burt Reynolds to do that role. Plus it was good to see Robert Forster and Anne Archer in a movie again.

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