Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past - Blu-ray Review

'helped by the fact that the 'happy' couple are the perfectly neurotic Lacey Chabert and the what-the-hell-has-he-been-doing-since-Road-Trip Breckin Meyer'

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
is one of those films that it's easy to a) criticise and b) ignore - something which many have done, potentially in the opposite order. It starts with a bunch of half-naked models wandering around a photography studio which makes you stop for a second and consider who the film is aimed at before you collect your wits, realise that this is a rom-com that girls will drag guys along to and then recognise that Hollywood has now reached the point where it needs to throw some extra eye-candy into a chick-flick, just to keep the dates interested.

Which, as shallow openings go, doesn't bode entirely well for the rest of the film, a trend which shows no signs of letting up in the opening thirty minutes. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past's high concept, running parrellel in depth to its opening, is a 'modern day adaptation' on the Christmas Carol story: Matthew McConaughey's vile womaniser is visited by three ghosts to show him the error of his ways and lead him towards a better life. Which would be fine if director Mark Waters (who has the impressive Mean Girls and The Spiderwick Chronicles to his name) just got on with it. Instead, a third of the film is setup, including McConaughey being promiscuous and unfunny and then meeting the ghost of his uncle (Michael Douglas in a role which appears made for Alec Baldwin), in a scene which should herald the start of the plot but instead seems tame.

Then, finally, a near unrecognisable Emma Stone arrives as McConaughey's first girlfriend and we're finally given an interesting character who begins to pull everything about Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past up to a level approaching enjoyable. Suddenly, scenes that would have appeared drab start to fire on all cylinders, heralded by the schooling of a younger McConaughey (Logan Miller) by a slightly younger Douglas on how to pick up girls, watched invisibly by the older McConaughey and Stone. This is as fun as it sounds and soon after, a slapstick scene with the wedding cake also registers a few laughs, helped by the fact that the 'happy' couple are the perfectly neurotic Lacey Chabert and the what-the-hell-has-he-been-doing-since-Road-Trip Breckin Meyer.

Even though Jennifer Garner remains a bit too icy for her own good as the real love interest, by the end I was caught up in it enough to enjoy a manic chase down a snowy hillside and the inevitable conclusion. If you find McConaughey inherently annoying then I can't really help you but there's nothing about his performance that's offensive or unlikable and the minor characters (particularly the bridesmaids) do enough to support him. Less gratuituos (and naked) than the opening five minutes would suggest.

Look further...

'I was quite prepared to watch one of the worst movies of the year... and much to my surprise I found it pleasantly mediocre' - A Life In Equinox, 5.00/10


  1. I agree 100%, and I applaud you for having the courage not to hate this movie. If you aren't that confident in your own judgments about movies, this is one of those movies you tell people you hate, simply because you feel they will judge you if you don't hate it. When in reality, it is indeed pleasantly mediocre, as that one critic suggests.

  2. Very kind words thank you very much. To trot out an old cliche: this isn't going to win any Oscars but neither is it Hitler. On reflection, the second part of that sentence may not have been in the original cliche.

  3. For was one of the worst movies of 2009. It was sexist (on both ends), immature, insulting, and not funny.

    I was disturbed by how much I loathed it.

    However, somebody has to like these kind of movies every now and again, otherwise they wouldn't get made. I actually thought The Ugly Truth was funny so what do I know?

  4. I personally didn't see that in the film Heather but if you did then I'm absolutely sure it was justified its spot on your worst movies list.

    I wouldn't disagree that there are certain stereotypes at play within GOGP (as there are in the vast majority of films) but I didn't find them sexist stereotypes. In your review you picked out Jennifer Garner and I too thought her character was quite well-rounded although she played her too distant and cold for me to ever warm to her.

    I agree with what you say in your piece about Michael Douglas. I thought he had fun in the bar scene but struggled nearly everywhere else. As I say, an Alec Baldwin would have been much better. Now that I think about it... how about a made-to-look-older Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mode?

    Thanks for stopping to comment.