|Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)|
|Blu-ray Romantic Comedy|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Thursday, 24 September 2009|
Anyone that has seen the previews for this film knows that it is spin on "A Christmas Carol." McConaughey's character, Connor Mead, replaces Ebenezer Scrooge. The story goes from a tale about poverty to a tale about womanizing. Connor Mead is the ultimate womanizer. He has grown a heart of stone.
As a kid Connor was best friends with Jenny (Jennifer Garner). But after he fails to make a move and she moves on to another boy, he vows to never feel this way again. Under the tutelege of his uncle (Michael Douglas), Connor learns how to woe woman and get everything that he wants. He eventually grows up to become a world famous photographer for Vanity Fair. Every girl in the world comes flocking to get a chance to spend a not-so-quality evening with Connor.
Meanwhile, Connor's brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer) is getting married. Connor tries everything to get Paul to reconsider. Connor is the Scrooge of love. He cannot believe in it and vows never to feel it. It just so happens that the bride's maid of honor is Jenny. In the past, Connor got his way with Jenny and then left her alone, having made his conquest.
After having quite a few drinks, Connor is visited by his deceased uncle, whom Connor idolizes for his way with women. His uncle tells him that he will be visited by three ghosts. The first ghost to arrive is the ghost of girlfriends past. The ghost takes on the form of his first sexual encounter, Allison (Emma Stone). She takes him back to when he was a kid and the relationship that was developing with Jenny. Eventually, they work their way to the point in Connor's life in which he finally got Jenny and comes face to face with his plethora of one-night stands.
Arriving back in the present, he seeks desperately for alcohol and in the process ruins some of the wedding decorations. It is clear that Jenny is still in love with Connor and vice versa. However, they tip toe around the issue. Jenny tries to convince herself that she will no longer fall for the guy that is still in need of emotional maturity.
Next, Connor is visited by the ghost of girlfriends present. This ghost appears as Connor's assistant. This segment contains a heart-wrenching scene in which Paul tells the wedding party that Connor is the one person in his life that he can depend on and that he is not going to give up on Connor changing his life around. Seemingly the writers struggled with this segment as it goes quite quickly.
Back in the real present, Connor enters into a fight in which the bride has learned that the groom has slept with one of the bridesmaids. This due to a slip of the tongue on the part of Connor. Everyone takes their frustrations out on the wrong person. Connor is actually the only one that makes sense during this fight. Asked to leave, Connor is finally visited by the final ghost, the ghost of girlfriends future. This is a fairly typical segment in which Connor witnesses Jenny's marriage, his brother's single life and his own funeral in which nobody but his brother shows up.
All of this is enough to get Connor to change his ways when he finally awakens the next morning. Of course, the fight between the bride and groom has now escalated and the wedding has been called off. Connor to the rescue. He pours his heart out to get the bride to change her mind.
"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is not highly original, but the script and acting make up for it. The part of the bride's father is played by Robert Forster. Forster is truly hilarious. I laughed so hard when he gives his wedding toast. There were less than a handful of these laugh-riot moments during the film, but when they come you will definitely laugh hard. The chemistry between all the characters on the screen is good. Parts of the character backstories unfold a little strange or skip over some essential facts. Nevertheless the film holds up.
The Blu-ray comes with a transfer that is adequate, but suffers due to the limitations set for by the production lighting design. The VC-1 encode holds up well, but ultimately it boils down to an unnatural looking image. The entire image is highly over saturated. The fleshtones are beyond a natural tan. And yet at other times Connor can look a sickly green. The boosted contrast contributes to a loss of shadow delineation. This boost in contrast in conjunction with poorly lit scenes results in black blobs all over the screen. Details are good, but textures fall flat due to the boosted contrast. On the plus side there is no digital artifacting. Some edge enhancement is applied, but it is minor with the exception of a couple of scenes. Film grain has been disturbed by noise reduction. This would be a great transfer were it not for the filmmakers' stylistic choices during the production.
As far as romantic comedies go, this audio track is fairly good. New Line presents us with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track. As to be expected, the surround channels are virtually empty. Occasionally there is some room reverberation in the surrounds, but discreet effects are noticeably absent. The dialogue is strong in the center channel. There is no struggling to hear the dialogue. The LFE channel is absent. Dynamics are consistent and frequency response is full range. Despite a front heavy mix, the audio track on the whole is good.
The Blu-ray release does not come with a great supplemental package. Noticeably absent is any type of an audio commentary. The first bonus feature is a collection of deleted scenes. These remain in standard definition while the other featurettes are in HD. "The Legends, The Lessons and the Ladies" examines the characters of McConaughey and Douglas. "It's All About Connor" is a McConaughey praiseworthy segment that has everyone giving him a pat on the back. "Recreating the Past, Imagining the Future" is a behind the scenes segment that recaps the film. Lastly the disc is BD-Live enabled and the Blu-ray disc is accompanied by a Digital Copy.
"Ghost of Girlfriends Past" is a great date movie. For some reason or another it seems to have repeatability. The video and audio quality is decent given the production value of the film. I would have to recommend this title.