Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (*)

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.  97 mins.  PG-13.  Directed by Mark Waters.  Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore.  Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Lacey Chabert, Breckin Meyer, Robert Forster, Emma Stone, and Michael Douglas.

Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite stories of all time.  Reinterpretations, when done right (e.g., Scrooged, A Muppet Christmas Carol), can be a joy to watch.  Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, on the other hand, seems hellbent on destroying every ounce of goodwill associated with Dickens' classic story and douching it up with some unhinged McConaughey.  Honestly, is there anyone who needs a career slap in the face more than him?  This rut of bad romantic comedies he keeps subjecting audiences to is getting out of hand.  Ghosts is just the latest, after Wedding Planner, Fool's Gold, Failure to Launch, to flop.  Not far behind in the poor career choice track is Jennifer Garner, who needs to reunite with J.J. Abrams ASAP.  The script for Ghosts is virtually laugh and charm-free.  McConaughey plays a top-tier fashion photographer named Connor Mead, who is visited by three ghosts on the eve of his brother's wedding.  Needless to say, he learns a lesson or two about relationships, and realizes his true love is childhood sweetheart Jenny (Garner).  Nothing plays out believably - the relationship between Connor and Jenny is forced right from the get-go.  Lacey Chabert (so good in Mean Girls) joins the "fun" as the bride-to-be, and she's so shrill and stupid here that she'd fit right in with the cast of the other front-runner for worst film of the year: Bride Wars.  The only two performers who come out looking okay are Michael Douglas (as Connor's dead playboy uncle) and Emma Stone (as Connor's ghostly first girlfriend) - they're game, but the script gives them nothing funny to do.  Look, I like romantic comedies a lot.  Heck, He's Just Not That Into You is one of my favorites of the year so far, but Ghosts is pure garbage.



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