So, check it: I’m gossing with a friend about essentially the Platonic Ideal of a Bad Boyfriend, and she says, “have you ever watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past“?1
It might sound like non sequitur, but it was actually a perfectly reasonable segue. Because the tagline to this movie could have been, “Feel better about the bad choices you’ve made in your love life. You could have done much worse.”
Matthew McConaughey stars as Connor Mead, a name the screenwriter must have been pretty proud to come up with because it is said in full about 15,000 times throughout the 100 minute movie. Connor Mead is a famous photographer of dubious talent, but more importantly he is the worst person in the universe to date.
This movie really, really wants to get across how disgusting Connor Mead is, never quite being satisfied with its exposition on that point. Not convinced after his photo shoot where he strips a starlet down to her underwear without her consent and has an arrow shot at her head over her firm objection? Well here he is insulting the starlet to her face while getting ready to bone her. A sick-making boning which is, to make it even more clear that Connor Mead is the worst possible romantic partner imaginable, interrupted by him dumping three chicks over a conference call.
You know what that Connor Mead needs? A Dickensian redemption on the eve of his younger brother’s wedding! Three ghosts (plus Michael Douglas in the Jacob Marley role) pop in and out of Connor Mead’s brain to find out how he became such a toolshed, and maybe, just maybe, save him from a lonely life with only Breckin Meyer in horrifying age makeup to mourn him when he’s gone.
First thing that went wrong is Connor Mead’s parents died, which we all know is a nonstop ticket to the bitter streets of Stoneheart City. Then Connor Mead failed to ask young Jenny (played by the same chick who played the 1980s version of Jennifer Garner in 13 going on 30, which is bizarrely specific way to be typecast) to dance when REO Speedwagon came on at the Spring Fling, and lost her to a ninth grader.
After the school dance disaster, Michael Douglas enrolled Connor Mead in Douche Academy. Fast forward to the Ghosts of Girlfriends Present and Connor Mead has boned three-quarters of his soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal party and lines up the “hat trick” by APOLOGIZING to her because unlike all her best friends she hasn’t yet had the privilege of his pelvic thrust.
Eugch, that Connor Mead! I need a stick of gum or some mouthwash or something.
The problem with this whole A Christmas Carol storyline is that the more we find out about Connor Mead, the less I want Connor Mead to be redeemed. Especially because Connor Mead’s redemption means that poor Jenny has to end up with him, and all of his sexually transmitted infections, instead of a hot fellow doctor she meets at the wedding. When the Ghost of Girlfriends Future, or whatever, shows Connor Mead Jenny’s wedding to Hot Fellow Doctor, it is not a sad thing. It’s not like the audience thinks, “Oh god, this horrible future must be stopped!” We’re like, “Aw, look at Jenny and Hot Fellow Doctor getting married!”
When Connor Mead wakes up and gets a second chance (once he’s fixed his brothers’ wedding which he somehow destroyed while I was getting Collin more ice for his face2) the audience is like, “Ok, that’s enough redemption for you! Now stop. Stop it! STOP IT BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT.”
But you know that won’t happen. You know Jenny is going to get all dewey eyed as he makes some dramatic wedding-saving speech, and return to the place of her childhood romance during the reception and then slow dance with Connor Mead in the snow when REO Speedwagon comes on. And over the credits the interchangeable slutty bridesmaids will physically fight over men, because bitches be horny at a wedding, right bro?
Well, yeah, this is a wedding movie. Everyone’s inexplicably fabulously wealthy. The bride freaks out over the wrong salad being served. Someone has dead parents. The main characters make horrible choices with their love lives and we’re supposed to celebrate the romance of it all.
1Actually, yes, I watched it on the flight to my sister’s wedding, which was a year and two days ago. Belated happy anniversary, Beck!
2Collin got his widsom teeth extracted today. Wish him speedy healing and tell him to take his damn painkillers when he needs them.