I've said it before and I'll say it again: Criticizing a romantic comedy for being corny and facile is meaningless and redundant. The genre is all about broad strokes and fudged details, taking a lowest common denominator route to the primal joys of a socially conditioned Western female's heart. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a particularly shameless telling of one of womanhood's all-time greatest fantasies: The reformation of a womanizing bad boy (Matthew McConaughey) into a prostrated sod frothing at the mouth for the opportunity to live monogamously with a woman who's just a team of stylists and personal trainers away from accessible (Jennifer Garner), and is therefore a step in the right direction.
The film's plot is simple: Take Dickens' A Christmas Carol morality tale and replace all the ghosts with women who walk Connor, our protagonist cad, through the romantic errors of his past, present, and so forth. The fantasy setting is an enormous East Coast estate where Connor and his younger brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) were raised after their parents' death by their legendary orgy-throwing philanderer of an uncle (Michael Douglas), who Connor idolizes and models himself after. The film takes place over the weekend of Paul's wedding—the perfect backdrop for Connor to examine his perspective on commitment, no?
Understanding that this might be read as a deterrent, McConaughey's charisma is what carries the film. If you're not sick of his shtick, this is an increasingly rare addition to the romcom pile that will only truly insult you four or five times. That's a pretty good score in my book.