Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
But with that said, I can't fully blame McConaughey for the lackluster film. In fact, I am not sure if he is to blame at all. His acting, though never stellar, was acceptable on most accounts. His attempts at real emotion were half-hearted, but suit the genre and were near flawless given the circumstances. So for that reason, I give at least part of the blame to the screenwriters who somehow took a promising premise and turned in into an overreaching turn-off.
The characters, lifeless and full of unnerving drama, lack both depth and maturity. Their actions, immature for their supposed age, bring about an unnecessary amount of obstacles, all of which are handled within a short, two to three minutes span. And that is when the dilemmas were ever relatable to the story. Half the time I felt that the problems were manufactured for the sole purpose of a longer running time; a feat that was accomplished hands down.
On top of that, I found myself slightly unsatisfied with the displacement of the three ghosts. First there is past, which features Emma Stone as the hideous, though hysterical Allison Vandermeersh. Yet, for some unknown reason, Stone is used for almost half of the film as she works to create laughs from the awkward situations before her, ultimately giving the audience a rare gem to enjoy.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about either the present or future. And while there is good reason for their staggered placement in the story, I still found myself truly disappointed with how quickly they both passed through. There had to be more than disappointment and death after his brother's wedding. I mean, how can forty years be summed up in less than five minutes of screen time? The answer: It can't.
But I do want to show some appreciation for Jennifer Garner. Still struggling to find her place amongst Hollywood's elite film actors, the former 'Alias' star has stepped up to the plate in a big way with her portrayal of Jenny Perotti, an ex-girlfriend of our protagonist. And while Garner goes a bit off stereotype, becoming more vulnerable and fragile as the film progresses, we do get to see the performer finally showcase her full potential.
But sadly, at the end of the day, neither Garner or Stone are able to make up for the consistent miscues that occur elsewhere in the feature. The characters, the story and the life-lesson ending bring about relatability, but when push comes to shove, it doesn't transform into entertainment.