And what, exactly, did Charles Dickens’ immortal “A Christmas Carol” do to deserve such horrible treatment on the big screen of late? Last year’s reactionary wank-fest “An American Carol” was painful enough, but did we really need Scrooge refigured as a fashion-photographer cocksman with intimacy issues?
McConaughey can’t be bothered to drop the Texas drawl even though he’s playing Newport-bred, New York–based shutterbug Connor Mead; the film begins with him humiliating a famous singer he’s shooting for a Vanity Fair cover, after which she naturally falls into bed with him. But he has to leave her — and simultaneously break up with three other women via Web chat — to head home for the wedding of his younger brother Paul (Breckin Meyer).
The first one is gawky teen Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone), who deflowered the young Connor. We see him as a boy, falling in love with girl-next-door Jenny, but after he has a failure of nerve at a junior high dance and she goes off with someone else, he adopts his uncle’s love-’em-and-leave-’em attitude. (Thanks to the movie’s faulty chronology, they go from being six years old in the early ’80s to teens in the mid-’80s, but that’s barely a blip on this movie’s list of flaws.) When Connor and Jenny met again as adults, his reputation as a ladies’ man made her keep her distance, so he wooed her aggressively; when she finally gave in to his advances, he skulked out before dawn.