For those who have played the field and sown some wild oats around town, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past might be a walk down a personal memory lane into why nothing lasts longer than possibly that first, genuine relationship. There are reasons abound why some are either commitment freaks, or just plainly wanting to chalk up a list of conquests to show off, and for top fashion photographer Connor Meat, erm I mean Mead (Matthew McConaughey), it's a run from responsibility, and the fear of never ever wanting to be hurt again.
I'm pretty sure many who have gone through a break-up would admit to having it leave some bad aftertaste, that you'd just want the upper hand the next time around when dealing with that painful, negative emotion, should and if it happens. Call it insurance, or the hardening of the heart, and if you're to subscribe to the tips shared in this film, it's preaching to love a little less if you're to walk away unscathed. This does not apply to those who are for the notion of true love, happiness and that institution called Marriage, and for a film whose protagonist celebrates and actually enjoys his freedom and singlehood, it ends with a cop-out smack in the face.
The trailer would have pretty much shown everything you need to know about the plot. For the ultimate swinger in Connor, nothing is worse than having to attend the wedding of his brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) as his best man, to toast during a ceremony he won't touch with a ten foot pole. Making it worse of course is the attendance of the only girl he has ever had genuine feelings for, his childhood and first girlfriend Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner). Then comes the whole shebang of A Christmas Carol proportions where Connor is visited by his dead uncle, Wayne (Michael Douglas), responsible for imparting his techniques to getting laid, who tells him that he'll be visited by three ghosts before the night is up. And for the home run, it's a determination if Connor would become a changed person and end up with the girl of his dreams (the future ghost did look hot though).
Those expecting comedy, you'll be disappointed as the jokes come off rather half-baked, making fun of best mens as nerds and bridesmaids who are horny all the time. Then there's the future father-in-law in war veteran Sergeant Volkom (Robert Forster) and his ex-wife Vonda (Anne Archer) whom Connor tries to hit (no women too young or old it seems). Those in for romance, unfortunately both McConaughey and Garner exhibit no sparks nor chemistry, perhaps the latter being all settled already as a real mom, that she's miscast as the mid-30-something still out there looking for love, and holding a candle for her childhood friend.
Director Mark Waters would be an old hand at handling ghostly apparitions in a romantic comedy, after all he had dealt with Resse Whiterspoon and Mark Ruffalo in Just Like Heaven. But his only saving grace in this movie with little surprises, is that of Michael Douglas' performance as the old-swinger Uncle Wayne, hamming it up as the adult version of Will Smith's Hitch, but with some pluses in not just wanting to establish that first hello, but going all the way for that one night stand, sharing some tips and tricks that you probably might just get lucky with.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past turns out to be a misnomer, as Emma Stone gets to represent the countless of faceless, nameless women that Connor gets down with. As a date movie it's pretty formula, made worse by its taking a leaf from A Christmas Carol. The only element that kept me entertained, was the blast from the past moments complete with an excellent soundtrack to bring back those 80s and 90s nostalgia. See if you can spot the track 6 Underground by The Sneaker Pimps, and Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, amongst others.