May 2, 2009
Review - " Ghosts of Girlfriends Past "
- (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
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these women?), he eventually realizes he misses childhood friend Jenny (Garner), the one who got away.
While Tim Meadows may have starred in “The Ladies Man,” even he would have to admit that much like M.C. Hammer he
can’t touch photographer and playa extraordinaire Conner Mead (Matthew McConaughey). Conner runs through ladies
with the ferocity and disdain that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt does to races. In the film’s opening minutes, Connor
simultaneously dumps a set of women on a conference call while in the middle of a tryst with another unsuspecting victim.
Continually looking to add more notches to his “love belt,” Conner has no time for feelings or emotions, only for each ladies
For a man who has plans to be a permanent playa, the thought of attending his brother Paul’s (Breckin Meyer) wedding
leaves him less than overjoyed. Connor has slept with everyone of the bridesmaids except one and his former childhood
love, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner) is also in the wedding party. Held in the home of his hero and playa role model, the
late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), Connor is disgusted that the ladies have decorated his uncle’s “love palace” for the
ceremony. It doesn't help that he doesn't hide his contempt for everyone and everything involved including destroying the
couple’s wedding cake and pushing up on the mother of the bride, Vonda (Anne Archer).
But it is Jenny who sees through all of Conner’s bravado to the scared insecure little boy that he was many years ago when
they were childhood sweethearts. Even she can’t stand the sight of Conner who has more game than Hasbro. After a
chance encounter with the ghost of Uncle Wayne, Conner is encouraged to “make that change.” He will soon not only see
the error of his player ways, but will experience something unfamiliar to him . . . feelings. Borrowing the popular and familiar
device from “A Christmas Carol,” Connor is visited by three ghosts who take him back to experience all of his foibles and
shortcomings ultimately helping him come to grips that if he doesn’t change his ways that he is headed for a life of
loneliness, despair and isolation.
All though his past experiences, Jenny is everywhere. Whether receiving his first camera from her, witnessing her first kiss
from a high school competitor or breaking her heart by leaving in the middle of the night, Connor may have slept with
hundreds of women but Jenny is his love alpha and omega. Unable to trust and rely on the undependable Connor, Jenny is
setup with a handsome Barack Obama-esque renaissance man, Brad (Daniel Sunjata) who seemingly is prepared to fill any
void that she needs filled.
By minimizing McConaughey "Girlfriends Past" effectively turns him into a caricature or film cliche. While McConaughey’s
actions towards the women are hateful, misogynistic and despicable, he retains a likability that helps the audience remain
connected with him. We do find the reason's behind all his leachery - in his early teens he had his heart broken and
doesn't ever want to feel that pain again so thusly he closes off his heart and can no longer feel anything. The film features
some interesting touches such as Connor being drenched by the tears of all of the women he has hurt. Garner dusts off
her “13 Going on 30″ persona using the same young girl who portrayed her in that film in a similar role here. She displays
some poignant vulnerability in a key scene where she gives her heart to the callous Connor only to wake up alone in the
But it is Douglas who
delivers the film’s best
performances and is the
REAL reason that this film
works at all. Playing a
graying, Hugh Hefner-esque
70s’ swinger, he advises his
young nephew in the ways of
seduction and literally steals
every scene that he’s in.
Acknowledged as the
inventor of the phrase,
“MILF,” Uncle Wayne
cruises for ladies in his
caddie also known as
the “Stabbin Wagon.” His
tutorial to young Connor at
a club is priceless as he opens up his “player’s manual” to his prized pupil. “Players never die, they just try their luck at
another table,” utters the aging Playboy. Whether that’s true or not, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” shows that even the most
callous person could change their player stripes! But really folks, if you were Jennifer Garner would you really WANT to get
back together with this world class jerk?
You do have to wonder how his brother Paul turned out to be such a nice guy with only the influences of The letcher twins -
Uncle Wayne & older brother Connor.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Directed By: Mark Waters
Starring: Matthew McConaughy, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Emma
Stone, Brecken Meyer
You will be shocked - shocked! - to learn that Matthew McConaughey plays an
arrogant womanizer who coasts on his looks and charm but eventually realizes
that love does matter after all.
Call it laziness, call it finding your niche. You've seen McConaughey in this
kind of role before, usually with Kate Hudson as his co-star. (Jennifer Garner
stands in as the voice of reason this time.) You've also seen "Ghosts of
Girlfriends Past" before, in countless variations of Charles Dickens' "A
But you won't see Dickens credited anywhere here, even though the plot finds
McConaughey, as playboy photographer Connor Mead, reluctantly revisiting
the many women he's wronged with the ghosts of girlfriends past, present and
future as his guides.
Connor is forced to attend the wedding of his younger brother Paul (Breckin
Meyer). While there, the ghost of his Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), an
old-school player, warns him not to waste his life without love. As he endures a
litany of exes, all of whom are depicted as malleable sluts (where can I meat