A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A chauvinistic man who believes that women should be loved and left gets his comeuppance; ultimately, he's persuaded by true love to put his best foot forward.
Positive Role Models
While the main character is a shameless womanizer, it's clear that he's not meant to be taken seriously as a role model -- and he learns the error of his ways.
Violence & Scariness
A woman slaps a man; two brothers yell at each other; a man crashes his car at the bottom of a hill.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of innuendoes ("spooning isn't as much fun as forking," etc.) and a fair amount of discussion about what women and men want in bed. Deep kissing, though some of it is played for laughs. Characters talk about wanting "wedding sex," a man gropes his brother's future mother-in-law, and scantily clad women prance around a photographer's studio -- later, one of them is seen straddling the photographer and making out with him.
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Language includes one use of "s--t," plus "a--hole," "ass," "damn," "hell," "bitch," "laid," "banged," "screwed," "dick," "oh my God," and "goddamn."
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Products & Purchases
A Polaroid camera figures in the plot, and characters mention alcohol brands by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character talks about snorting a pile of cocaine (but it's not shown). Characters drink heavily during a wedding weekend, sometimes intentionally to excess. An uncle takes an eighth grader to a bar and orders hard liquor for him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this predictable romantic comedy about a shameless womanizer who ultimately sees the error of his ways has plenty of innuendo and discussion about sex, though there's more talk than action. Expect to see deep kissing, some groping, and a clothed man being straddled by a scantily clad woman while they make out. There's also some swearing ("bitch," "damn," etc.) and drinking, including a scene in which an uncle buys his eighth-grade nephew a drink in a bar. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST hews close to the romantic comedy "rules" -- you know where it's going to end within the first half hour. Which isn't to say the film's a fright. The premise may be tired, the jokes stale, and the script trite ("Pain beats regret every day of the week, and twice on Sunday," for example), but it's actually more amusing than expected thanks to two critical casting choices. First, there's Garner: Quick with verbal volleys and arch reaction shots, she grounds the movie in girl-next-door goodness. The fact that someone like her would like someone like McConaughey's Connor makes us want to believe in what romcoms sell -- love that makes no sense but works anyway. Then there's Douglas, who appears to be channeling both Hugh Hefner and Jack Nicholson. This is the Douglas we adored in Wonder Boys -- no spit-shine, no polish, just rough edges with a hint of sleaze. (Who knew playing sordid could be so fun?)
McConaughey is also relatively solid, but Garner and the supporting characters outshine him, especially Chabert, as a well-meaning woman on the verge of becoming Bridezilla, and Meyer, who adds heart to a frothy script. It's a little off putting to see A Christmas Carol "reimagined" in this manner, but we won't be a Scrooge and say it's all for naught. Truth is, there are enough laughs to entertain, if not enthrall.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.