In the new romance Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Matthew McConaughey plays Connor, that hot, irresistible jerk you just can’t say “no” to – even though you know you should. Even as McConaughey spouts off against love and marriage at his own brother’s wedding, the bridesmaids are lining up for a night in his arms.
All except Jenny (Jennifer Garner) — who is Connor’s childhood pal and also one of his many exes. As maid of honor, she’s focused on not letting that jerk ruin her best friend’s day, while also doing her damndest to appear above his charms. Of course, even as Connor continues to prove he’s not worthy and a perfect new guy woos her, the desire and heartbreak is written all over her face. Enter the magic of Michael Douglas’ Uncle Wayne and his ghostly ladies…
McConaughey has a flashback
Michael Douglas is so smooth he floats as Uncle Wayne, Connor’s mentor and idol who returns from the dead to caution him against following in his bachelor footsteps.
The Douglas/McConaughey present day scenes are fun, but this character takes off when he pops up in a late ’70s bar scene to work the room and give Connor his first sermon on lovin the ladies. Needless to say, it’s terrible advice, so Uncle Wayne sends his charge on a ghostly adventure into the past to undo the damage.
There’s a visit from the sardonic ghost of present and the spooky ghost of future, per the Dickens story A Christmas Carol, but Connor actually spends most of his time in the past with a gum-popping teen ghost plucked from the ’80s.
Actress Emma Stone is gorgeous, but you’d never know it from the way she’s dolled up here! With her ’80s perm, stone wash denim and tons of eye rolling, she is fantastically annoying and tragically uncool. Much like the fashion and styles of the times!
Wow, we’ve made some mistakes over the years, haven’t we? Even the delicious Connor steps in it once or twice as we move through retro flashbacks, broken hearts and nostalgic chuckles at both the age and the era.
The wedding party
Every wedding is about the guest list, but it’s the bride’s job to shine and “Mean Girls” alum Lacey Chabert surely does as Sandra. She takes her character to the verge of Bridezilla, but always brings her back before the transformation is complete, making us laugh instead of cringe.
The groom, Breckin Meyer, serves well as the flick’s straight man, fighting to keep the bride calm and then delivering the goods in one of the few emotional moments in the movie.
The wedding party, however, was a bit lopsided. Sandra’s super hot bridesmaids were all aiming to get some action that weekend and Rachel Boston, Camille Guaty and Amanda Walsh played strong, funny chicks; but Paul’s geeky, pathetic pals didn’t quite fit into the story. They hardly bare mention, especially when we can just move on to raving about Noureen DeWulf, who was seriously funny, or Anne Archer and Robert Forster, who had some entertainment moments as the divorced parents of the bride!
Speaking of Archer, she was one steamy lady in her scenes with McConaughey! The same can’t be said for Garner and McConaughey at first, but their romance heats up as we get to know their characters’ history, which, for all the laughs, turns out to be quite sad.
While the film rides on McConaughey’s charm, Connor’s charisma ultimately becomes less about that irresistible smile and more about the imperfect but good man behind it. Garner’s struggle is completely relatable and it’s a relief that she doesn’t try to change Connor.
They never change and we should all know better than to try! But by the time Connor’s knocks over the wedding cake, you’re actually rooting for him to save it all – himself, their love story and even the wedding – and you know he’ll get it done.
We can’t say it’ll be the best wedding you go to this year. As with all such affairs, there are a few lulls and not too many surprises, but all in all, it’s an entertaining guest list and a fun little ride.
And did we mention how charming McConaughey is?