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Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Review

Published April 30, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a great concept for a movie. If it were someone like Vince Vaughn or John Cusack, they could analyze the painfully funny ways we ruin our relationships. But it’s Matthew McConaughey so it’s just like all his other romantic comedies. Since none of the ghosts is a stripper, I can’t even relate.

Review: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

It’s actually like My Best Friend’s Girl sanitized so that women will like. It’s pretty accurate about the manipulative ways men can get women to sleep with them. It’s just not edgy enough to be funny.

Connor Mead (McConaughey) insults a singer’s music and humiliates her, so she just seeks his approval. That’s true. They do. His dumpees complain that he made them fall in love with him in two weeks only to leave them in shambles. Well, really, they should have known better themselves, but look at me talk. I’ve fallen in love in one. Basically, if women want Connor to change, they need to make it stop working. He only does it because it works.

It’s not just women. His brother is thrilled that Connor showed up to the wedding rehearsal. You shouldn’t be excited. You should demand that relatives be on time to your significant events. That’s just respect. But he’s got everyone so wrapped around his finger, they’re just happy he showed up at all.

I respect Connor’s honesty and relentlessness. I just wish he were funny. He knows he’s preying on daddy issues. I admire his balls sticking to his beliefs and not even turning it off for a weekend to be the best man. Of course, believing in casual sex and fun is a lot easier if you look like Matthew McConaughey and women throw themselves at you every night. The rest of us don’t have that luxury.

Look at me analyze the relationship drama of this movie. That’s all fun but the real point is it’s not funny. Is bickering exes making metaphoric threats supposed to be funny because we know they won’t really do it? I’m not a fan of sniping humor anyway, hurling insults and judgmental innuendo. That’s not a joke. It’s weak.

The film thinks privileged girls being annoyed at a war veteran’s nostalgia is funny. Yes, the marine who went to war, lost friends and came back with PTSD isn’t fun so let’s make fun of him. That’s comedy.

Bridezilla schtick is definitely not funny. The goofy ‘80s ghost acting up, gagging and slobbering isn’t funny. They can’t even do a good spit take.

Big set pieces are awful from concept to execution. The whole wedding cake scene fails because at no point is his attempt to save it ever a good idea. Comedy is if his best efforts fail, not if his stupid efforts play out as expected.

As far as the actual premise, the revisiting of one’s past, present and future, that’s not funny either. It is a real portrayal of what causes men to become this, just way tamer. It’s not just one rejection and a cool uncle (Michael Douglas). It’s Magnolia level bitterness. But the encounters of his past aren’t amusing. At least it calls out the romantic montage, but there are still no jokes about his various conquests, only mention that they were quick and left the girls broken.

The stuff about Connor’s uncle isn’t comedy, it’s instructional. The dramatic moments of when he really messed things up with Jenny (Jennifer Garner) aren’t that moving either. I mean, nobody likes to see Garner be sad, but if the comedy part isn’t working, no way is the romance.

There are a few magical moments, like rain of tears and tissues, but again, with no comedy, the magic of the fantasy blows. It does seem to follow the rules of the Christmas carol, spending the most time in the past because that’s the most material, the ghost of the present physically assaulting Connor and the ghost of the future being silent.

At least it’s a multi-ethnic slew of babes, though they’re stereotypically multi-ethnic. The Romanian girl speaks broken English and the Indian girl believes in karma. At least the cougar has enough class and standards to deny Connor. You go girls.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of New Line Cinema

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