A get even sex addiction comedy, Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past retools the basics of Dickens’ A Christma Carol, but comes off more like a commitment challenged Scrooge on Viagra. In other words, it’s the sort of grossout faux feminist fare that is drenched in sleaze, while wallowing in what it postures about condemining.
Miscast in the extreme and not feeling at all like the conniving chauvinist he’s claiming to be, is laid back soft-spoken Matthew McConaughey as Connor Mead. He’s a prominent fashion photographer who doesn’t comprehend why any female would want to be more than a sex object in life, and thinks nothing of dumping women ‘in bulk’ via a conference call, because his schedule is just too busy for one-on-one farewells. Connor is also the kind of guy who believes action in movies refers to the sex scenes, and prides himself on the ideal maximum 39 minute relationship with a woman.
When Connor must begrudgingly take time off to attend the wedding back home of his nerdy brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer), he runs into a childhood playmate and first crush, Jenny (Jennifer Garner). But she has only contempt for the shameless stud, and isn’t shy about letting him know. Zero Chemistry Alert.
Also turning up, most unexpectedly from the afterlife in the catering hall john, is the ghost of Connor’s Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a departed playboy who raised the young Mead boys after their parents were killed in a car crash. And though Wayne once schooled Connor in the art of serial seduction, including field trips to singles bars presented to the boy as classrooms, Uncle Wayne is atoning now for his former dissipated indiscretions on the planet, by arranging for his sex crazed apprentice to be visited by the apparitions of a selection of avenging females.
Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past does have its quickie laughs, like Uncle Wayne driving around in his nifty bed-mobile. And Connor cruising for ‘wedding sex’ while dodging the ‘bridesmaid estrogen lynch mob’ prior to the ceremony, and accidentally hitting on his brother’s future mother-in-law, played by Anne Archer.
But the whole just doesn’t feel at all like the sum of its parts. Kind of like Connor’s undercooked 39 minute flings, however perfected. And what’s with the PG-13, is this movie meant to be a manual for underage two-timers in training?
1 1/2 stars