03 May 2009

Film: "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Directed by Mark Waters
Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Emma Stone and Michael Douglas
Date of Screening: 1 May 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Sexual Content Throughout, Some Language and a Drug Reference)

A Christmas Carol, reimagined as a romantic comedy.  This story has been retold and reimagined countless times, from the George C. Scott film to the Mickey Mouse version, from Patrick Stewart's one-man stage performance to a TV musical starring Kelsey Grammer.  Why not as a rom-com?  Where Jacob Marley intervened in Ebineezer Scrooge's life to steer him away from his miserly ways, so too does Uncle Wayne (Douglas) arrive to disrupt Connor Mead's (McConaughey) womanizing ways.  He is taken on a tour of the women he has mistreated and directed back to the feelings for childhood friend Jenny (Garner) he has buried for decades.

Because the story is built on A Christmas Carol, the utter predictability of the film is not bothersome as it is in so many rom-coms.  In fact, it's rather liberating going from scene to scene, knowing what must come next but wondering how it will be presented.  Perhaps, had Dickens lived today rather than in the Victorian era, he would have written lust, rather than avarice, as Scrooge's greatest moral failure.  I won't go so far as to say that Ghosts is a relevant social commentary, but it does cast an interesting light on, if not society, then at least upon a classic work of literature.

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