In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Matthew McConaughey finally plays a character who takes full advantage of the fact that he looks like Matthew McConaughey. True, the handsomely sculpted slacker has played immature Lotharios in the past. But those dudes usually applied their casual charm on one woman (Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker) as they sought a fortune in pirate treasure or superficial fluff of that nature.
Not Connor Mead. McConaughey's latest egocentric womanizer has bedded thousands of girls in the name of casual sex, and they all come back to haunt him on the eve of his kid brother's (Breckin Meyer) wedding in Mark Waters' Ghosts. Article continues below
It's a premise that's as old as the Dickens. Charles Dickens, that is, whose A Christmas Carol powers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's predictable yet sporadically endearing screenplay. But lively support from versatile actors who play characters both living and dead prevent us from fully ushering Ghosts into the afterlife.
It's been a while since McConaughey had as confident and as ravishing a foil as he gets in Jennifer Garner. Her light comedic touch and comforting smile enrich her role as Connor's one-that-got-away. Most of the tenderness found in Ghosts begins and ends with Garner, who's nimble enough to go toe-to-toe with McConaughey and win her share of the bouts.
That might be because the laid-back Texan is mildly coasting. He has danced these steps before, and aside from an inspired physical routine involving a champagne bottle and a wedding cake, McConaughey isn't embarking on any real challenges here. Neither is Waters, for that matter, who explored romantic connections from beyond the grave in the equally pleasant but ordinary Reese Witherspoon comedy, Just Like Heaven.
Maybe Waters has a fascination with the deceased? Then again, if all spirits were as hip as Michael Douglas, I'd brush up on the afterlife, as well. The 64-year-old star plays the late Uncle Wayne, Connor's inspiration in all things romantic who dresses like legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans, talks like a castoff from Sinatra's Rat Pack, and instructs his heartbroken teenage protégé how to treat "dames." Leave it to Douglas to make the most out of Ghosts.