Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts.
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Connor Mead, a successful fashion photographer and a Lothario keen on casual sex, goes to his younger brother's wedding to convince him not to marry. He arrives at his dead uncle's estate during the rehearsal the night before the wedding; he starts in, taking his brother aside, trashing marriage. Later in the men's room, his uncle, who taught Connor all he knows about women, appears to him, confesses to have been wrong, and tells Connor that three ghosts will visit him that night: the ghosts of girlfriends past, present, and future. Connor has already set the breakup in motion. Can he learn anything from his life and fix what he's broken? Written by
For a rom-com, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is as dramatic as it could be, more Dickens than Apatow. Matthew McConaughey as womanizer Connor Mead is type cast as a rake waiting to be changed into a loving human being, The plot with returning dead lovers to teach him a lesson about having feelings is not quite as exotic as it sounds, for it is a device mainly to show him as a callow youth squiring and losing the love of his life, Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner). The drama is the disaster he makes of his brother's wedding and the tears he witnesses from the women he has seduced and left.
Since we all know enjoying casual sex is a no-no for descendants of Puritans, the outcome of the ghostly apparitions' lessons is secure in cliché land. Following the party line about scoundrels getting what they deserve is ghost of Uncle Wayne, a sort of Gordon Gekko gone good, an oily ex-Lothario played with relish by another spot-on bit of casting, Michael Douglas. His flowing hair and Hollywood-tinted big glasses call to mind producer Robert Evans (The Kid Stays in the Picture). Although Uncle Wayne is a recovered womanizer, at least for now, his speeches about loneliness and broken hearts ring true only for the moment, but long enough to affect the hero.
It's an enjoyable film with a smart cast, a preposterous story but a serious message about true love and selflessness. Not quite a romantic comedy, but very close indeed.
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