Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Judging by the size of the screening crowd, this predictable and lightweight movie should open to pretty good box office. In my opinion, there isn't a heck of a lot to recommend it.

Matthew McConaughey ("We Are Marshall" and "Fool's Gold") is a confirmed bachelor living the good life. He is a successful photographer for high-end magazines, specializing in fetching shots of scantily clad young women who all seem enthusiastic about his "casting couch." Over his strident objections, he agrees to be best man at his younger brother's wedding; he not only doesn't agree with the concept of marriage, he is actively opposed to it.

As soon as he arrives at the hotel where the festivities are to take place, he starts to wreak havoc. He begins by trying to convince his brother, nicely played by Breckin Meyer ("Clueless" and LOTS of TV), that he should bail out and leave his bride at the altar; the majority of the bridesmaids are former flings; and he encounters a childhood girlfriend, played by Jennifer Garner ("The Kingdom" and "Juno") who obviously dislikes him (hint, hint).

In the men's room, he encounters a ghost, that of his deceased uncle, played by Michael Douglas ("Traffic" and "Wonder Boys"), who advises him that he will be visited by three ghosts (a la Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol"). Because he had always admired and emulated this promiscuous bachelor uncle, he thinks this might not be so bad.

From that point on, we follow Dickens' plot fairly closely: ghosts of Past, Present and Future emphatically make the point that his uncle might not have been the best role model after all. His biggest "aha" moment comes when he discovers that his former "flings" don't share his high opinion of himself. He did, after all, break up with three of them on a single conference call!

Most of the humor is pretty broad, the plot is durable, and his conversion―like that of Scrooge before him―seems a little abrupt. There are lots of attractive people to admire, some clever repartee and an underlying moral that isn't all bad. Breckin Meyer does most of the heavy lifting and McConaughey is easy on the eye. All in all, I had a nice time...