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IN SHORT: Fabulous. [Rated PG-13 for Sexual Content Throughout, Some Language and a Drug Reference. 100 minutes]
Push comes to shove, you go to the movies to be entertained. Or scared. Or to have your emotional guts ripped out, whatever. We walked in to a packed preview of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past carrying all the baggage of anyone who has endured decades of annual runs of Dicken's A Christmas Carol. How dare anyone screw with a classic?" we thought (which is dumb -- Hollywood does it all the time.) We were very pleasantly surprised and our audience was laughing so much throughout the run of the film that we know we missed as much as we got.
We could stop reviewing right now -- that's really all you need to know (if you're not the reader who just checks out the dollar rating, below) -- but for those who want to know how closely this film hews to the original, here goes . . .
Connor Meade (Matthew McConaughey) is the star of the show. A New York based celebrity photographer to the A-list. A ladies man spelled with a capital Stud. An older brother who is running late to attend his bro's wedding at their late uncle Wayne's estate, where they were raised after a car crash left the young boys orphaned. While the wedding party is uneasy at the elder Meade's presence, Connor knows that he has one last chance to set his little brother on the right path -- singlehood.
Before he can say a word, Connor is visited by the ghost of Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a legendary lover who could have been lifted out of the style pages of any 1960s Playboy magazine. Uncle is to Connor what Marley was to Scrooge, and a warning is issued that there will be visitations from three ghosts during the night to come...
Oh you know all this. Quick credits to the Ghost of Girlfriends Past: Connor's first "conquest", 16 year old Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone). The Ghost of Girlfriends Present is the ghostly presence of Connor's real life assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf). As for the Future (Olga Maliouk), her looks speak thousands of words.
The real underlying story involves once upon a time first love Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), who gifted a young Connor with his first camera and set him on his career path. Jenny and Connor, while an on and off couple through the years, are not exactly on great terms as this story begins. But you know what is inevitable. Unless you don't. Unless the very handsome stranger called Brad (Daniel Sunjata), brought in by the bridal party as a perfect fix-up, completes his mission. He's probably a doctor. Don't ask Cranky. We were fixated on the bridesmaids. `<vbg>
The plus marks to this story come with the addition of new characters, wedding guests and relatives of one sort or another. These include the divorced father and mother of the bride (Robert Forster and Anne Archer) and all the bridesmaids who are busy divvying up the groom's men -- there's more to those maids but you're smart enough to figure that out just based on "Connor's" rep -- and it all plays out briskly. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is terrific fun.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Title, he would have paid . . .
We'll say it again: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is terrific fun. How much fun? Our back -- yes the legendary destroyed, pain filled back -- was in spasm throughout the entire screening. You know what? Laughter really is the best medicine. See the film. Take a date. or two. or be like Connor Meade and go for the hat trick. We're sure the studio will appreciate your effort <g>
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