Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past **1/2

Director: Mark Waters
Cast: Matthew McCounaghey, Jennifer Garner
Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Daniel Sunjata, Emma Stone
Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Michael Douglas

"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is the kind of movie that spoils itself from the trailer. Inspired by Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" it turns Scrooge into Connor Mead (McCounaghey) a Vanity Fair photographer who has made a reputation on account of his "tripod".
He beds every model he shoots and is a firm disbeliever of monogamy and love. When he goes to his young brother's (Meyer) wedding he is visited by the ghost of his uncle Wayne (Douglas), the man who trained him in his player ways.
He announces to him that he will be visited by three ghosts (past, know how it goes) who all will point out to him what an ass he was by dumping the love of his life: Jenny Perotti (Garner).
Lucky for him she's maid of honor at the wedding, but before the inevitable happy ending arrives, the ghosts will unleash some actually funny situations involving alternate realities, Bridezilla tantrums (courtesy of Chabert) and that never ending source of laughs known as bad 80's fashion choices.
McCounaghey does his eternal "pecs on legs" routine (surprisingly he's never shirtless in this film) and his lecherous qualities make for some heartbreaking moments especially when the wrinkles on his face begin to show and both his characters, and the actor, learn that they might not be able to pull this off forever.
Garner can do no wrong, and she's no exception here, bringing Jenny equal parts sass and sensibility (very few actresses out there can put a lump in your throat by getting watery eyes like Jen does).
Her scenes with McCounaghey bring up the sort of flirtation that heats up a room, but we know will never be consummated, which is why the film sometimes falls flat on its face.
The supporting players are rather good; especially Forster as a tough father of the bride, Archer (can you believe she's in her sixties already?) as her foxy mom and Douglas who brings a Dino quality to uncle Wayne that makes his chauvinism somehow irresistible.
"Women are like horses" he says, cockily flashing the pearly whites and working the ascot. You will be surprised to see even your girlfriend will let out a spontaneous chuckle and then probably be pissed about it.
That's the thing with this movie, it doesn't contain life changing wisdom and knows it. It's crass, predictable, extremely cheesy sometimes, but still has some parts that work (Stone as Connor's first girlfriend is hilarious) some that are cringe worthy and some that will send you out of the theater with a huge grin on your face.

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