Complete A-Z list

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past


Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Emma Stone, Anne Archer, Robert Forster, Lacey Chabert

Director: Mark Waters

Director Mark Waters has made some pretty good films in recent times, including Mean Girls, the underrated Just Like Heaven and The Spiderwick Chronicles. Alas, this reworking of the Scrooge story is not one of them.

It would probably be unfair to hang the blame squarely on Waters' shoulders, as his scriptwriters are Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, whose previous credit was the charmless Four Christmases. It's Christmas here, too, and the brother (Meyer) of celebrity photographer Connor Mead (McConaughey) is getting married.

Connor, a notorious womaniser who sheds girlfriends like confetti, and believes that 'power in relationships lies with the one who cares less', has no sooner got to the wedding venue for the rehearsal than he has propositioned an attractive woman
(Archer) who turns out to be the bride's mother.

He also encounters his childhood sweetheart (Garner), whom he deserted immediately after spending weeks trying to get her into bed (and eventually succeeding). Commitment, you will see, is not exactly this guy's strong suit.

In the loo, Connor is visited by the ghost of his lecherous Uncle Wayne (a relaxed Douglas). At least Douglas doesn't actually have to wear chains for this role, as he tells Connor to expect visits from three more ghosts, who will show him how he's become the cocksure wastrel whom no one (except the casual lay) wants at the party.

The performers are game, especially Forster as the bride's military-man father, but the writing simply isn't up to scratch. Waters' direction is very ordinary, and even the music is uninspired. A centrepiece joke about a collapsing wedding cake falls flatter than the cake.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Entertainment (New Line). Technicolor/Colour by deluxe.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 29 Apr 2009