Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Predictable romcom has some iffy stuff, but OK for teens.

Movie PG-13 2009 100 minutes
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 16+

Inappropiate, Sexist, Not Funny, Full of Stereotypes

I don't know in what world this movie passed off as a rom-com, there is nothing romantic or comedic about this film. If you're watching this with kids, it's extremely inappropriate, and not just because of the constant talk about sex, but rather because it sends extremely harmful messages to boys and girls alike. It's full of stereotypes, portraying women as hysterical, ditzy, and objectifying them at every turn. It teaches horrible pickup tricks that you should belittle and play mind-tricks on women and they'll come crawling to you. The women in this film aren't even treated as people, but rather as playthings for the protagonist. And it teaches that he can't be held responsible for his actions because some girl in middle school rejected him, so now he's afraid of commitment. What a joke. And the "good" ending at the end doesn't fix any of the issues, the fact is that the movie still glamorizes the playboy lifestyle, dehumanizes the female characters, and sends the wrong message that a womanizer can be "fixed" by the "right woman". Absolutely disgusting and not in touch with reality.
age 16+

Sexist and poor images of women- terrible role models

I recently watched this with my 9 year old daughter and 2 boys, 12 and 13. My daughter is mature. This had very provocative scenes. Women are so poorly portrayed. They are overly sexed, promiscuous and objectified. I don't usually write such comments but i was shocked and embarrassed with my husband and had to cover her eyes or skip a lot of scenes. We've watched pretty much all of the romcom chick flicks one can find but this really bothered me.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14 ):
Kids say (23 ):

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 1, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: September 22, 2009
  • Cast: Breckin Meyer , Jennifer Garner , Matthew McConaughey
  • Director: Mark Waters
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Romance
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sexual content throughout, some language and a drug reference
  • Last updated: January 2, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate