Friday, May 22, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

There is just something about Matthew McConaughey. That guy could charm the parka off of a penguin. I don't really even know what that means, but penguins don't wear it would be a pretty amazing feat.

The point is...that guy is smooth. When I see him in a movie, there is never any doubt in my mind that he is going to get just exactly what he wants. Not because he's the star of the movie and the star always gets what he wants...but because he is just a charmer. I can't imagine anyone being able to say no to him. And this goes way beyond the fact that he's a Hotty McHotterson. Though he is. I don't think his charms are only effective on the ladies, though. I'm sure that any man who reads this is probably rolling his eyes and saying "nuh-uh!" but I'm confident that if you non-believers were to meet Mr. McConaughey at a would end up wanting to hang out with the guy. Cool is cool. It cannot be denied.

That being said...Matthew plays up his charm to its fullest in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a modern day play on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Instead of Scrooge, Matthew plays Connor Mead, a photographer and eternal bachelor, whose moral compass seems to be broken, and whose only goal in life seems to be to have as much fun, with as many women, and as little commitment, as is humanly possible.

We meet Connor as he travels to attend the wedding of his younger brother, Paul. Upon his arrival, we find that only Paul is glad to see his brother, while many of the guests are surprised that he came, and at least one bridesmaid, Jenny, (played by my favorite female super-spy, Jennifer Garner aka Sydney Bristow) is absolutely not happy to see Connor.

Connor doesn't believe in marriage, and encourages both Paul and his Bridezilla fiancee, Sandra, to call the whole thing off. Love is a myth, he explains to those seated with him at the rehearsal dinner, and he is convinced that a committed relationship can only be equated with bondage.

After dinner, Connor excuses himself to the bathroom, where he runs into his greatest idol, the man after whom he feels he learned all of the important things in life, his Uncle Wayne. After their parents had been killed in a car accident, Connor and Paul and been raised by Wayne, who had being a philandering bachelor down to an art. While meeting his hero in the bathroom should be a happy occasion, Connor is more than a little freaked out, considering that Uncle Wayne is dead.

The ghost of Uncle Wayne tells Connor that throughout the night, he will be visited by three ghosts. Those who are familiar with A Christmas Carol can predict what is coming next...but it's fun to watch it play out anyway. Connor dismisses the meeting with Uncle Wayne as a result of too much alcohol, and leaves the bathroom only slightly shaken.

After alienating himself from everyone who came to the wedding to enjoy, rather than destroy, it, and after hitting on a flirtatious, but expressly off-limits, cougar who turns out to be the mother of the bride, Connor makes plans to meet one of the bridesmaids in his room. Once there, however, Connor is greeted not by the young bridesmaid who he had hoped to meet, but the "ghost" of the first girl who fell victim to his "love 'em and leave 'em" ways, Allison Vandermeersh.

Allison proves to be Connor's Ghost of Girlfriends past, and whisks him away through several memories that help explain the reasons that Connor is the way that he is. We see that Jenny was his first and best friend, and that she bought him his first camera. We see that he was infatuated with her...but that, as things tend to do in life, things didn't work out the way that he'd wanted them to work out. Repeatedly. Finally, Connor begins to feel regret for some of the choices he's made in his life...both concerning Jenny, and in regard to his lifestyle in general.

I won't go into lots more detail about the have to have some surprises if you see it...but I had to mention Allison, because Connor's scenes spent with her were the funniest scenes in the movie. That girl...funny. Seriously. Good stuff.

After Allison, Connor is visited by the Ghost of Girlfriends Present, and the Ghost of Girlfriends future...and his eyes are slowly opened to the things that are most important in life. He is forced to re-evaluate his priorities, and especially how his choices have affected the people that have surrounded him.

I liked the movie. It could be considered "fluff" by the hardcore critics, but it made me laugh, and had some honestly tender moments. So many times people go through life repeatedly making the same's nice to see someone...even if it's just a funny movie...who finally sees their mistakes and tries to fix them.

Though it's always hard to say if the lessons that characters learn in movies would really stick "in real life," I have to believe the Connor is a changed man, by the end of the film. Of course, this could be due to the aforementioned charm that Matthew McConaughey possesses. I would buy a wool sweater from him if I were standing in the Houston heat in the middle of August...and I would wear it with a smile if he asked me to.


Sharon said...

I really want to see this movie, and not just because of Jennifer...aka Sidney. :-) Matthew is a Hottie McHotterson!!