by Rick Grant
Grade: C / Rated PG-13 / 100 min
“Doesn’t anyone believe in casual sex anymore?” asks Conner Mead (Matthew McConaughey) in this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Mead, a well known fashion photographer, who was attending his brother Paul’s (Brekin Meyer) wedding was hitting on his brother’s fiance’s mother. Yes, this outrageous retelling of the Dickens classic is sometimes funny but falls flat in too many scenes.
Based on Mead’s insatiable sexual libido and complete disregard for his lovers’ feelings, the script uses the ghost device to show Mead the error of his love-’em-leave-’em lifestyle. Mead’s track record of leaving a trail of broken hearts secretly excites his conquests. Most of these women are willing to take a chance on a broken heart just to have sex with Mead.
Of course, it’s so obvious that his true love has always been his past girlfriend, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Gardner) who has carried a dimly lit flame for Mead, but seeing him again, she realizes that he has not changed and is still a serial womanizer. She knows he never spends the night and loathes spooning or cuddling.
Yet, horny young women throw themselves at him like the three wedding sluts at Paul’s wedding. They’re hot for a roll in the hay with Mead. They know his reputation but they don’t care. Mead thrives on this type of women. His honed instincts, expert pickup routines, and his creed to never sleep with the same woman each night, keep him busy. Mead believes that marriage is a trap and long term love is a myth.
Enter the ghost of Uncle Wayne, Mead’s mentor who raised him to be a world class skirt chaser. Uncle Wayne tells Mead he will be visited by three ghosts-past, present, and future-to scare him. Oh, it’s so predictable, a monkey could anticipate every aspect of the script.
This feel good escapist pabulum is popular in these hard times when people want and need a lift. So, I understand why these romantic comedies are being made. They sell a lot of tickets!
With a sex symbol (McConaughey) as the leading man and a bevy of beautiful actresses on the set, the film fulfills its promise-to make people laugh and experience vicarious thrills for the film’s running time. Movies have always been a cheap getaway.
Directed by Mark Waters and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the script is mediocre. There are a few funny scenes, but even when Mead realizes his life of one night stands is shallow and hurtful, the audience still doesn’t like him and sides with Jenny.
But, in reality, how could Jenny trust him even after his revelation that, in the long run, love and monogamy are the ideals he should be pursuing. The problem would be, the minute he went out to a bar or on a walk, women would hit on him and test his loyalty to his new life. Could this Don Juan be happy with one woman? I think not.
Nonetheless, the movie has a certain titillation factor for men and women. At the end, the preview audience applauded. So that’s a good sign the film will do well.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
by Rick Grant