by Corey Hall
With its cold and snowy locales and reheated Dickens premise, Ghosts would've been perfect for holiday release, except nobody wanted to find a big lump of Matthew McConaughey in their stocking. The once-promising McConaughey long ago surrendered any pretense of an interesting film career to churn out batch after sticky-sweet batch of romantic marshmallow fluff — the kind that'll hastily rot your brain, but is OK in small doses. Thing is, Ghosts is 100 minutes long.
Mr. One-Time Golden Boy plays an aging, self-obsessed but irresistible rogue, one so boyish and playful that ladies can't keep their paws off him. (What other role would McConaughey play?) He's Connor Mead, a studly celeb photographer who's so busy bedding one gorgeous actress or model after another that he actually arranges a video conference call to break up with multiple chicks at once. He takes a brief pause from shameless tomcatting to be best man at his brother's wedding — where he's dubbed "Designated Man Whore" by a trio of slutty bridesmaids. Ah, but where's the catch you say? Well ... his first love, who keeps getting away, happens to be bridesmaid Jenny (played with abundant cheer by Jennifer Garner, a fresher McConaughey foil than Kate Hudson).
Sooner than you can say Scrooged, various spirits visit our cad — from his first brace-faced '80s hookup (Emma Stone) to his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), the creepy playboy role model who coached Connor into a player. Sporting the slicked-back hair, scarves and oversized sunglasses of infamous producer Robert Evans, Douglas is a scream and steals the film.
Sure, the story has been done better, and you know exactly where it's headed, down to the wacky wedding antics as credits roll. It's been done worse too, and familiarity builds something less than contempt here, instead, perhaps, mild enjoyment, though McConaughey had better reinvent himself before the Ghost of Failed Careers rises to reveal a real horror show.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.