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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 36min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
October 12, 2009
October 30, 2009

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ... 96-minutes of poison to the innate sexual humility of the target audience.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): New Line Cinema, Panther
Distribution (US): Warner Home Video
Director(s): Mark Waters
Producer(s): Ginny Brewer, Samuel J. Brown, Brad Epstein, Jonathan Shestack, Jessica Tuchinsky, Marcus Viscidi
Written by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Cinematography/Camera: Daryn Okada
Music: Rolfe Kent
Film Editing: Bruce Green
Casting: Geralyn Flood, Marci Liroff
Production Design: Cary White
Art Direction: Maria L. Baker
Viewed on New Line Productions Home DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP and McK.

Take a moment, if you have not already, to focus on the CAP thermometers for this new addition to the ever-growing family of hardcore R-13 movies.

The attention I would like for you to pay is to the investigation area scoring distribution, the Area Score row which reveals the following in table format:

• Wanton Violence/Crime: 90
• Impudence/Hate: Zero
• Sexual Immorality: Zero
• Drugs/Alcohol: Zero
• Offense to God: Zero
• Murder/Suicide: 100

I cannot remember the last film or if there ever has been a film out of the nearly 1300 film analyses we have done that had such a wide span in the scoring distribution across the six CAP investigation areas! Ninety, Zero, Zero, Zero, Zero, 100! There have been many PG-13 films that have earned zero scores in multiple investigation area but none with one or two area scores breaking into the G-equivalence scoring range (87 to 100 out of 100) while all the other area scores were zero (hardcore R-equivalent).

Envision the scoring distribution equivalence for this film like this: G, Hard R, Hard R, Hard R, Hard R, G. Below is a pictorial way to visually imagine the scoring distribution of this 96-minutes of poison to the innate sexual humility of the target audience.

All film analyses start presuming the film contains no sinful assaults on morality and decency and each of the six investigation areas (W, I, S, D, O and M) starts with 100 points. The blue area in the figure on the left above represents the presumed assault-free moral content at the start of any film analysis. The CAP thermometers are superimposed for familiarity. As each assault on morality is found the related investigation area loses points. Now envision the yellow area in the figure in the middle as the magnitude of assaults on morality and decency found in this film. The figure in the middle visually portrays how much of the presumed blue wholesomeness is obliterated by the yellow ignominy. The figure on the right depicts what is left of the starting morality -- not much at all. The amoral/immoral content of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past far outweighs the moral content.

This PG-13 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is about as morally R as R can get. As with so many other "R-13" and "R-PG" films the R-ness is not necessarily due to the extremeness of any individual examples of assault on morality that are typical of more severely rated films but is due to the sheer number of instances of moral assault of the "lesser kind" to achieve the same feel as the more extreme content. For more information on this relatively new technique of loading or weighting the content of a film, please see our CAP Rule of 1000 publication.

On October 12, 2009, just after finishing viewing the DVD and before completing the number crunching, I told our subscribers that this film "may be well described as a sexual mockery of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol." Indeed it easily comes across as a sexualized version of the Dickens classic.

After a lengthy introduction with women flashing flesh squeezing out from underwear during a photo shoot, the womanizing Connor "Scrooge" Mead (Matthew McConaughey), a wildly successful photographer, is visited by three ghosts: past, present and future, actually four ghosts if you include the ghost of his uncle. The focus of the three ghosts is to wake Connor up to his amoral and immoral contempt for sexual humility while the fourth ghost -- that of his uncle -- re-teaches Connor the how-to's of sexual conquest by re-living his adolescent teachings.

The ghost of the past, 16 year old Allison Vandermeersh (played by 21 year old Emma Stone) forces Connor to relive his encounters with dozens of his sexual victims, including herself ... in a bathroom. The ghost of the present, Melanie (Noureen DeWulf) forces Connor to witness the impact of his abrasive scorn for sexual purity. The no-name ghost of the future (Olga Maliouk) forces Connor to see what is in store if he doesn't change his ways, for example, his tombstone (Maliouk doesn't say a single word, she just points). So the underlying theme of this story is the same as in Dickens' classic except instead of greed yielding to philanthropy the focal thread of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is sex. Sex this. Sex that. Sex everything. And all is treated with absolving disdain for moral wholesomeness as if casual sex is supposed to be acceptable and the modern norm. And, as in A Christmas Carol, the quintessential creep gets his comeuppance and sees the error of his ways. That a bad guy ultimately achieves redemption is good indeed but what about the victims of his/her deeds along the way? A noble destination cannot be allowed to excuse an ignoble path.

While there is no nudity except for the squeezing of flesh out from scant and flimsy underwear, there is [clothed] fondling and all manner of talk about sex and all manner of sexual game maneuvers.

Connor reluctantly attends the wedding of his seemingly milquetoast brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer) to the high-strung and knife-mouthed, Sandra (Lacey Chabert). Connor is reluctant to attend the wedding because he does not agree with marriage. He thinks that something like marriage is torture for the single man to weaken him and submit to the wiles and ways of a soft, sumptuous and hungry young lady: that sex which is typically ... and morally ... and Biblically ... reserved for marriage should be free of moral restraint. Connor evidently does not believe God's Word which admonishes us that any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.

From his youth Connor's best friend and confidante is Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Gardner). Jenny is also his first camera subject, his first photo by a camera she gave him as a gift. From the solid friendship that blossomed from that encounter, the two slowly drift apart though deep inside they each remain close -- a guarded attraction. The camera gift and first photo set the stage for Connor becoming a professional photographer, one of the two main fibers in Connor's persona.

The second of two main fibers of Connor's persona is ingrained into Connor by his uncle Wayne who took Connor under his wing after Connor's parents died. Connor's parents were loving and caring parents deeply and richly involved with each other but, due to the untimely death of both, left Connor at a time when Connor's moral development was relatively empty and yet a sponge to any teaching. Unfortunately, a key tenet of Wayne's teachings was ignoble -- how to get women into bed. So Connor develops into one who embraces shallow and temporary relationships and typically of the sexual nature ... and uses the camera to fill his sexual belly.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 90 out of 100
The only issues of violence in the entire 96 minutes of this film were a couple examples of slapstick violence: Connor gets slapped and gets push-tripped by one of the ghosts. An episode of reckless driving took one point off the starting 100 points in this investigation area.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty-one times someone utters some form of the three/four letter word vocabulary. Crude remarks and insults and talk, body piercing, tattoos and portraying women as sexual objects of conquests were expensive to the scoring in this investigation area. And the teaching of a young boy how to take sexual advantage of women didn't help the area score any.

Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
To even try to summarize the tons of sexually immoral deeds, talk, innuendo and comments found would be futile. This film normalizes and even minimizes amoral contempt for wholesome sexual humility, not as much at the physical level as at the social level. Please rely on the itemized listing in the Findings/Scoring section if you want to know the details of this material that is sexual humility poison for the typical thirteen year old child. But I will "summarize" God's Word against sexual irresponsibility: any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful. I will, however, offer a few of the Scriptures about the sinfulness of sexually immoral behaviors and thoughts. [1 Cor. 7:1 - 2, 1 Cor. 7:9, 1Ths. 4:1-5, 1 John 2:26, 1 Cor. 16:18 - 20]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
Alcoholic beverages, drinking and drunkenness, including teen drinking and drunkenness, is frequent. Quite a perfect example of that which the American College of Physicians found regarding the modern entertainment industry.

A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers unknowingly corroborated four years later. The bottom line? The focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
    God's name is abused without the four letter expletive 16 times through the 96 minutes of this film plus once with the four letter expletive.

    I guess that would be of little import to they who do not understand or accept that abusing God's name by using it with an expletive or as an expletive (such as in the popular three-syllable sentence with his name trailing it) is a sin of ... er ... Biblical proportions. God warned us that the one who uses His name in vain would not be held guiltless. [Deut. 5:11]

    In addition, spook antics, ghostly events and unholy manifestations such as a ghost walking through a man and manipulating time and people abound. [Deut. 18:9 - 12]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There is no murder or suicide noted in the entire film.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • 1 Cor. 7:1 - 2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. ["Not to touch..." God is wise to rationalizations of man. "Touch" is haptomai {hap'-tom-ahee}: to touch; of carnal intercourse with a woman or cohabitation. God knew that "touching" leads to more.]
  • 1 Cor. 7:9 But if they cannot contain [exhibit self-control, be continent], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
  • 1 Cor. 6:18 - 20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
  • 1 Ths. 4:1 - 7 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them.] and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish [unforgiven] men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. [Be not a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • 1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ["These things I have written" includes lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes from 1 John 2:16. An example of "them that seduce you" includes they who demonstrate sexual sin, however innocuous it may seem, in and as entertainment which can morally "seduce" the viewer, can lead one astray by desensitizing one and emboldening him/her to believe sexually immoral deeds, thoughts and displays are acceptable OR by eroding one's natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. And anything in and as entertainment that draws the viewer's attention to sexuality, sexual deeds, nudity and the private parts clothed or not, seen or not, is sexual.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19 - 20]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking to God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]
  • Deut. 18:9 - 12 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
       •• abominations [to`ebah {to-ay-baw'}: a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable; wickedness]
       •• divination [qecem {keh'-sem}: witchcraft, false prophets]
       •• observer of times [anan {aw-nan'}: soothsayer, sorceress, enchanter (one who practices divination), to make appear, control weather, conjurer, spiritism, unholy magic]
       •• witch [kashaph {kaw-shaf'}: sorcerer, soceress, one who practices unholy magic]
       •• charmer [chabar {khaw-bar'}: to unite, join, bind together with charms (voodoo)]
       •• consulter with familiar spirits [owb {obe}: necromancer, one who evokes/communicates with the dead; ghost, spirit of a dead one; one who has a familiar spirit]
       •• wizard [yidd@`oniy {yid-deh-o-nee'}: one who has a familiar spirit; a familiar spirit; soothsayer; necromancer]
    God sounds so serious about embracing evil that it seems He would include embracing evil even in and as entertainment since it has been proven in so many ways that entertainment can and does influence deeply and contaminate values. Even God agrees with that. (see 1 Cor. 15:33).

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 90 out of 100
  • slap to the face
  • slapstick tripping
  • reckless driving

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 21 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • body piercing
  • massive tattoo
  • threat of sexual harm to intimidate performance
  • crude insult
  • crude talk, remark
  • human urination
  • women as sexual objects/conquests
  • adult teaching a young boy how to get sex
  • adolescent disrespect of an adult
  • lie

    Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
  • adults in underwear, some with brief with flesh squeezing out, frequent
  • partial nudity - rear, female, repeatedly
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly
  • woman undressing woman to underwear
  • woman on man in bed making out, repeatedly
  • gamming, repeatedly
  • woman stripping to underwear while straddling a man
  • man undressing woman
  • invitation to sex and motions of acceptance, repeatedly
  • talk of sexually immoral behaviors
  • talk of sexually immoral past
  • sex talk, frequent
  • offer of sexual display
  • sexual insult
  • inappropriate touch
  • entire conversation of casual sex as acceptable, repeatedly
  • homosexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • constant theme of sex
  • talk of oral sex by teen girls
  • gaping face kissing by teens
  • adult speaking approvingly of sexually immoral deeds and conquests to teen boy
  • innuendo re: intercourse, repeatedly
  • homosexual insult
  • portrayal of teen intercourse
  • admission of cohabitation and other sexually immoral deeds, repeatedly
  • man and woman in bed after intercourse
  • man and woman snuggling nude
  • transsexual
  • many tales of sexually immoral behaviors
  • long dialogue of sexually manipulating others
  • admission of lesbianism and lesbian encounter
  • attempted seduction of man by woman by waiting for him in his bed
  • admission of sexually immoral deeds by matronly woman
  • talk of desire for intercourse, repeatedly
  • offer of three-on-one sex
  • sexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • sex games throughout

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, by multiples and repeatedly
  • drunkenness with offensive soliloquy
  • adult taking young boy into bar and giving him booze
  • young teen drunkenness
  • contributing to delinquency with booze
  • additional drunkenness, repeatedly
  • lust for booze
  • drug reference

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 13 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and once with it
  • supernatural, unholy events, throughout
  • talk of ghostly visitation
  • unholy manifestations, frequent
  • ghostly antics, throughout

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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