Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner | PG-13 |


Ever look forward to a seemingly juicy steak and then bite into it only to discover it was nothing but gristle? That is what it's like seeing Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a strenuously misguided romantic comedy featuring a hero who is both boorish and boring. Note to male Hollywood studio heads: This is so not what women want.

Connor Mead (McConaughey) is a promiscuous celebrity lensman in Manhattan who thinks nothing of breaking up with three girlfriends simultaneously via an online conference call. Forced one night to confront his horizontal history, thanks to visits from ghosts of girlfriends past, present and future, he begins a humor-free journey from unrepentant macho heel to enlightened suitor longing for a soulmate (Garner). All that's missing is Tiny Tim saying, "God bless us, every one."

McConaughey mistakes energy for acting while Garner, who hasn't much of a part, is stuck clucking disapprovingly at Connor's antics. Playing Connor's playboy uncle, Michael Douglas takes public what must be his best party trick, a sly impression of Robert Evans, the legendary film producer and ladies' man.

Idris Elba, Beyoncé Knowles, Ali Larter | PG-13 |

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It's been nearly 22 years since Fatal Attraction, but some things never change. Married men still need to be wary of the comely blonde at the office party squeezed into that too-tight skirt with a demented gleam in her eye. Here she's played leeringly by Larter, as an office temp who won't take no for an answer after setting her sights on Derek (Elba, better than he has to be). He's a successful financial executive in Los Angeles who's happily wed to Sharon (Knowles, whose acting is improving) and the father of a toddler son. Obsessed is a competently made thriller that hums along, hitting all the expected notes, even as it shamelessly rips off Attraction (though mercifully minus the bunny carnage). What, no one thought to include a cameo from Glenn Close as Larter's mom?

>• The Friday Night Lights star, 28, turns on the charm as card-throwing superhero Gambit in Wolverine.

YOUR CHARACTER IS GOOD WITH A BO STAFF AND CARDS I'm more comfortable with the bo staff [a martial arts weapon]. Give me an hour with the cards and I'm game on, but if you throw me a bo staff, I'll do it right away.

IMPRESSIVE! That's how I get the ladies. It's awkward when you drag a 6½-ft. staff with you to the movies, but it's worth it.

ARE YOU FLAUNTING YOUR SKILLS? My sisters get a kick out of it. They're 11 and 13, so they still think it's cool. Anything to build that ego, right?

>• The '80s action icon, 49, bares his soul as a thinly veiled version of himself in JVCD, on DVD April 28th.

ON OPENING UP ABOUT HIS DRUG PROBLEMS AND EX-WIVES: I wanted to do something vérité—not put on an act. I had to go deep inside of me to pull it off.

ON GETTING OLDER: I still have a 29-year-old inside of me. He has a way of coming out when I don't expect, and I have to be careful.

ON PLAYING HIMSELF: It was psychological open-heart surgery.

>THE MERRY GENTLEMAN Michael Keaton (above left, with Kelly Macdonald) scores a promising directing debut with an elegantly spare romantic drama about a melancholic hit man who falls for an office receptionist. (R)

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BATTLE FOR TERRA Flaming spaceships and tadpole-like aliens litter a lackluster animated sci-fi tale (in 3-D) that's most notable for its ecological message. Voices are by Luke Wilson, Evan Rachel Wood and Dennis Quaid. (PG)

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THE LIMITS OF CONTROL All cool look, blah content. In cult director Jim Jarmusch's latest, a mysterious loner (Isaach De Bankolé) flits through scenic European towns, rendezvousing with gabby strangers (like Tilda Swinton, above). (R)