The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: New Line/Warner - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Romantic comedy
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer, Michael Douglas, Emma Stone
Directed by: Mark Waters
Music by: Rolfe Kent
Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 22, 2009
"You can't always run from your past"
Connor Mead is the kind of guy who dumps three girlfriends at the same time via teleconference. So when he attends his brother's wedding he has a single goal: score with the only bridesmaid he somehow missed. But the ghost of his departed Uncle Wayne -who taught him to love 'em and leave 'em - has another goal in mind: restore Connor's lost faith in true love, a tough assignment requiring the services of many, many Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas and director Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Just Like Heaven) uncork a romantic romp as bubbly as wedding-toast champagne. It's the perfect comedy for anyone who believes in laughs and love. Or needs to.
My wife is a big Matthew McConaughey fan so we all sat down to watch this when it arrived from Warner. Judging by the trailer and how it did at the box office I didn't have high expectations but the cast gave it promise. It tells a Christmas Carol (Scrooge) style tale about a shallow and callous photographer named Connor Mead (McConaughy) who sees women as play things that he can throw away once he is done with them. As a result he is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through is past conquests in order to reveal to him what is truly important, love. The cast consists of several big screen veterans with smaller roles that combine to bring a little flair to the derived screenplay. Michael Douglas stars as Connor's now deceased Uncle Wayne, the man who raised Connor after his parents death. The problem is that Uncle Wayne is the one who gave Connor his rather skewed perspective on treating women. Uncle Wayne's ghost appears to Connor and tells him of the impending visit by the three ghosts of girlfriends past. Jennifer Garner plays Jenny Perotti Connor's childhood sweetheart and first but lost love. Over the course of his ghostly encounters and visits to the past Connor comes to learn some things about himself that he probably never would have understood otherwise. He also comes to see that his first love in his case truly is ever lasting. This is a pretty formulaic film that doesn't bring any new elements to the genre however it does have something to offer those who appreciate light, sentimental style romantic comedies. With the big names among the cast I was surprised to find that the performance I liked the most came from Lacey Chabert as Sandra, Connor's brother Paul's (Breckin Meyer) fiancé. I loved her meltdown during the scene involving the wedding cake. Although I shouldn't say that this surprised me as I always thought highly of her which goes back to her early days on Party of five (mid 1990's). Since then she's been busy and has established a fine pedigree for such a young actress. Bit parts by Robert Forster, Anne Archer, and Emma Stone round out the notables among the cast. This isn't great cinema but its half baked tale of morality, light hearted comedy, and sprinkling of romance help to make it palatable.
The rating is for sexual content, some language and a drug reference.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Ghosts of girlfriends past comes to Blu-ray disc from New Line/Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 1.3 mbps.
This film has a noticeably dark aesthetic and muted contrast that tends to drowns blacks and limit shadow delineation during segments containing low lighting (there are many). Bright scenes tend to fare better. Colors are cleanly rendered but are not particularly vivid and fleshtones have a balmy tonal quality that leaves them looking dull and lifeless. Images are rendered with good visual penetration, resolute sharpness and refinement that is appreciable throughout but more so during brighter sequences. The darker scenes aren't quite as definitively resolved and appear less dimensionally convincing. I noticed some mild edge enhanced lines but it wasn't consistently visible or imposing. This is essentially a dialogue driven film however there are aspects of the presentation that make effective use of the rear channels to expand the soundstage. Dialogue is crystal clear with discerning vocal description and refined texture. The mix relies heavily upon the front three channels. Separation, imaging and directional spacing are excellent as the mix of dialogue, music and recorded sounds are clearly articulated. The LFE channel is used primarily for subtle impact and for upper bass frequencies associated with the film's music. This is not the kind of track that is designed to be boisterous but it worked well with the source material and sounded fine.
- (HD) Recreating the past, imagining the future - featurette - 8 minutes
- (HD) It's all about Connor - featurette - 4 minutes
- (HD) The legends, the lessons and the ladies - featurette - 8 minutes
- 3 additional scenes, 1 extended scene
- WB BD-Live access
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC/Mac to a portable media playback device
Ghosts of girlfriends past is an average romantic comedy that may not break new ground but manages to hit most of the high points that genre fans will appreciate. Its high definition debut on Blu-ray from New Line/Warner won't blow viewers away but overall quality is fine. The bonus supplements include several humdrum featurettes along with a few additional scenes. BD-Live access and a digital copy bonus disc that allows viewers to take the movie on the go (which is always welcomed) is provided. If you're in the mood for a romantic comedy on date night this is worth considering.
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