Matthew McConaughey is Connor Mead, a sleazy glamour photographer with whom women love to have sex. Scantily clad models come up to him and ask him for dinner (sorry ladies, too busy), he breaks up with three women simultaneously on conference call, and a musician whose photo he’s taking falls in love with him because he negged her.
“I’m not 12 years old and tone deaf so I don’t like your music but I really dig your look.”
Then 5 minutes later, when passionately making out:
“Just listen to my music. I am more than I look. I am.”
“Sweetie you are already gorgeous. Why do you need to be good at two things, huh?”
“You’re the biggest jerk ever. In fact you’re even famous for it. Now really, why am I doing this?”
“Usually has something to do with your father.”
“Oh please. I’ve never even met my father.”
“Well come to papa.”
Now I appreciate that I may not be the target audience for this, but is Matthew McConaughey’s character meant to be attractive? Women seem to fawn over him but to me he just comes off as a Sex Criminal. Obviously Matthew McConaughey is our Scrooge and will be fixed by the end of the movie but, apart from occasional eye rolling, his lifestyle is consistently glamourised. The film was written and directed by men, of course.
He heads off to his brother’s wedding rehearsal. He offers his brother the keys to his car so he can fuck in it if he wants to.
Matthew McConaughey’s already slept with two of the three bridesmaids but don’t worry, they all still want to have sex with him. Phew!
Also present, as the maid of honour, is Jenny Perotti, an old friend of the family. But there is some romantic tension between her and Matthew McConaughey. Watch out!
Everything is set up for this to be a fairly middle of the road, £3 in HMV, American rom-com. We have a reliable set of stock characters; a playboy who doesn’t believe in love, a bridezilla, a militarist father-in-law, a horny mother-in-law and a couple of wacky nerd sidekicks.
After some more flirting/ harassment, Matthew McConaughey heads to the gents where he meets Marley’s ghost; his Uncle Wayne, a Hugh Hefner type played by Michael Douglas who claims he invented the word “MILF”.
He warns Matthew McConaughey he’ll be haunted and promptly fucks off. In a daze, Matthew McConaughey stumbles out of the restrooms and sees a mysterious woman at the bar. She must be the first ghost! He does what anyone would do in this situation, and immediately grabs her boob.
Oh no! It was the mother in law! Don’t worry, she’s fine about it though. He immediately propositions her for sex. She says no but don’t worry, it’s all cool. Then the bridesmaid who he hasn’t yet had sex with comes over and Matthew McConaughey propositions her for sex and she says “yeah!” but then he asks her if she was the bridesmaid that his brother slept with and suddenly she’s all serious:
But then she forgets because she gets to have sex with Matthew McConaughey.
Heading up to his hotel room, Matthew McConaughey sees someone writhing under the sheets. Expecting the bridesmaid, he pulls off the covers only to reveal
A pre-Zombieland, post-Superbad Emma Stone! It’s the girl he lost his virginity to! (They were the same age at the time.) She announces herself as the Ghost of Girlfriends Past (it’s the title!). She’s also totally wacky. They take the Bedknobs and Broomsticks bed back in time and you can tell it’s the 80s because they’re playing Safety Dance.
Young Matthew McConaughey is an incel who gets cucked so badly that he makes a faustian pact with his Uncle Wayne because he “never want[s] to feel like this again, ever.” The most responsible way to deal with this is, of course, to take your 16 year old nephew to a sleazy dive bar and teach him actual techniques used by real life MRAs.
“The power in a relationship lies with whoever cares less.”
Now we’re at a party where a freshly red pilled Young Matthew McConaughey snubs Jenny to have sex with Emma Stone. He looks like all members of Duran Duran simultaneously.
We skip forward in time to when Matthew McConaughey has fucking stupid mid 90s hair. He meets Jenny after many years and immediately propositions her for sex. She loves this and we get loads of scenes of him slowly courting her, the One girl who is Different, which culminates in sex. The sex makes him realise he’s in love with her so he leaves her so he can have more sex.
Back in the present now, Matthew McConaughey desperately needs a drink. In his rush, he accidentally knocks a supporting column out of the wedding cake. Uh oh!
If only… he could… reach the wine bottle… could… fix… cake….
Matthew McConaughey runs out of the house but aha! Who’s in his car?
Oh yeah, I didn’t mention – that’s our Bob Cratchit. I think her name’s Mel but she doesn’t get much screen time. Why would you be here? asks Matthew McConaughey. We’ve never slept together. Matthew McConaughey tells her he thought she was gay. Nice to know that even though he’s an habitual sex pest he respects the boundaries of female sexuality.
Bob takes us back into the hotel (Matthew McConaughey is now invisible) and we see everyone badmouthing him in a Fred’s party game situation. Third Chradvent film in a row with Gary Coleman, as it is revealed one of the bridesmaids slept with him at Lollapalooza. “He had such delicate hands.”
Michael Douglas is back! I guess Bob is gone.
“These are all the lady tears that have been shed for you in your life.”
“And these are the tissues they used to dry those tears.”
He then gets pelted with all the condoms he used and that’s the end of the Ghost of Girlfriends Present.
Brief sojourn back to the party where we find out that the marriage has been called off because the bride found out that Matthew McConaughey’s brother slept with one of the bridesmaids.
The future ghost then:
We don’t ever find out who she is or if she has any relevance to Matthew McConaughey.
The terrifying visions of the future we get are:
+Jenny is married to someone she met at the wedding
+Matthew McConaughey’s brother never got married and lived a life of misery
+His brother is the only one who comes to Matthew McConaughey’s funeral, though it is implied he lived to an old age.
I realise at this point: no Tiny Tim. Is this the only film of Chradvent to not feature Tiny Tim at all? I think it might be.
Matthew McConaughey gets fucking buried alive and vows to reform his evil ways.
Funny moment as a newly redeemed Matthew McConaughey opens a window and says to a boy outside:
“You there, boy, what day is it, Christmas?”
“No, it’s Saturday you moron.”
…I’ll take anything at this point.
He rushes after the bride and bridesmaids, who are being driven away by her father. He rams his Uncle’s car into their SUV and punches the father-in-law in the face.
He then begs her to call the wedding on again saying, and I quote:
“He cheated? Get over it. It was years ago. With some slutty friend of yours.”
Anyway, it works and the wedding is back on. The bride and groom get married and in his Best Man’s speech, Matthew McConaughey says that yes, while power in a relationship may lie with the one who care less, happiness does not. I guess that’s the message of the film. Also him and Jenny get together. The last shot of the film is Michael Douglas assaulting a 16 year old child.
I feel like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past attempts to make the main character an unappealing misogynist who is also appealing and then reforms but sort of doesn’t. I’ll admit that I don’t know enough about what makes a good rom com to make a value judgement about this film. I can, however, judge it as an adaptation of A Christmas Carol. And I shall.
3 1/2 instantly forgettable characters out of 10
I’ve almost completely run out of things to say about A Christmas Carol by now. I felt at times I was just describing the plot because every comparison of note has been made in a more day of Chradvent. At least I’m almost done… or am I….