Director Mark Waters brings us a romcom version of “A Christmas Carol” starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, a couple of Texans who create on screen all the chemistry and mutual love of Dallas and Ft. Worth.
Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a hot shot photographer of interchangeably beautiful women, and serial bedder of same. As the love-’em-and-leave-’em bachelor, he is against marriage, which puts him at odds with his soon-to-be sister-in-law (Lacey Chabert) and her maid of honor, Jenny (Garner).
Connor and Jenny have a past. They’ve known each other since childhood and were buddies until he lost his nerve at the prom and didn’t ask Jenny to dance. His Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) appears as a ghost; he was the horn dog who taught young Connor everything he knows about women, but has returned to warn his nephew that being a womanizer will lead to an old age of bitter loneliness.
The point of “A Christmas Carol” is that what you don’t do can come back to haunt you. The women in Connor’s past aren’t angry over their trysts, but they resent that he dumped them. Obviously, he hasn’t used promises of marriage to seduce them; he’s perfectly upfront and blunt about what he does. All of this misses Dickens’ point entirely .
The movie has its humorous highlights. Douglas is a hoot and Chabert has some nice moments of comic frustration and anger. McConaughey has these heels-with-hearts-of-gold characters down pat and if he had one ounce of ambition as an actor, he would have moved beyond them years ago. Garner’s face has grown even thinner and more angular than ever. She should be playing the best friend parts, not the romantic leads.
There’s not a smidgeon of maturity in this picture.