Cinema's love guru: What guys can learn from Matthew McConaughey

I should probably face it: I'm never going to look like Matthew McConaughey. I'll never have those locks, those pecs, that smug grin. But by watching his movies, atrocious though they are, I might learn what makes him so irresistible to women. In his new film Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, for example, McConaughey seduces his way through most of the models in North America, sabotage his brother's wedding, and snare Jennifer Garner.

Thanks to a script "inspired by" Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, he's helped on his quest by apparitions of his former conquests, who teach him how to be an even better catch. (Though not until after he's caught in a rain of – I kid you not – the ghosts of his own used condoms. Nice.) It's a fitting tribute for a man whose filmography is replete with romantic self-help homilies, all cleverly disguised as Hollywood tat. Like a persistent but hammy phantom, McConaughey returns to haunt the screen each year with a new reminder of how far I still am from fulfilling his example of good teeth, a great tan and consistent sexual satisfaction. Yet every time, he offers a new lesson in love.

Date high school girls

Dazed and Confused (1993)

In this stoner "dramedy", our man is a twentysomething still hanging out with high schoolers, and dating teenage chicks. "That's what I love about high school girls," he tells his young pals, "I get older; they stay the same age." He seemed very cool at the time. As a teen, I tried my best, often in vain, to follow his example. I graduated from high school 10 years ago, however, and this advice has seemed sleazier and less and less appropriate.

Always put your work before your women

A Time to Kill (1996)

McConaughey plays a cocky young lawyer in this John Grisham thriller. After Samuel L Jackson kills the two young racists who've raped his daughter, our hero takes up his case. Despite the Ku Klux Klan burning down his house, driving his wife and daughter out of town, and kidnapping Sandra Bullock, with whom he's been considering having an affair, McConaughey stands by his man. But he wins in the end, and nobody nice dies, so that's ok.

Make her jealous

EDTV (1999)

Before the glory days of Big Brother or the celebrity sex tape, there was EDTV, McConaughey's movie about a hapless – some might say charmless – video store clerk who agrees to have his life streamed live to millions on cable television. His girlfriend leaves him because she doesn't like the exposure, so engages in a spot of on-camera hank-panky with Liz Hurley, which brings her running back. He also gets the show cancelled by threatening to expose the producer's sexual inadequacies on camera. Smart thinking.

Don't be afraid to leave your wife for the hired help

The Wedding Planner (2001)

Here, our leading lad decides that he'd rather be with the wedding planner who organised his big day. This may be because she's so darned nice, or just because she's Jennifer Lopez. Either way, he dumps his wife and interrupts J-Lo's own wedding to her childhood sweetheart to declare his love. And whaddya know, it works! Must be the grin that did it.

Lie Through your teeth

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

McConaughey plays a charming ad executive – a very tough role to pull off, but he manages it. He bets his buddies that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Kate Hudson is writing an article about, you guessed it, how to lose a guy in 10 days. They date, she acts all girly and annoying, he tolerates it. Remarkably, despite their mutual deceit – and astounding dislikability – the blonde showponies fall in love, disregarding the film's title.

Don't let her meet your parents till it's too late

Tiptoes (2003)

In this shlocky horror, McConaughey gets his girlfriend Kate Beckinsale pregnant before revealing his secret: he's the only regular-sized person in a family of dwarves. Stick with me; this is a real film. The next day, his tiny twin brother, played by Gary Oldman (on his knees!) turns up and teaches Kate all about dwarves. McConaughey comes to terms with his family, as does Kate, because "it's only the size of your heart that counts." That's what all my ex-girlfriends said, before they dumped me.

The perfect woman is one who's getting paid

Failure to Launch (2006)

The stallion of the silver screen plays a stay-at-home son, whose parents hire Sarah Jessica Parker to turn him into a real man and make him move out. Parker has a step-by-step process to transfer his attachment from his parents to her, which spills over into real affection. She sleeps with him, while still being paid, which is rather morally ambiguous. But when all is revealed, Matt gets over it. He's used to this sort of thing, after all (see How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days).

There's nothing wrong with being a gold digger

Fool's Gold (2008)

McConaughey is an adventurer whose wife, Kate Hudson (her again), has left him. But just as their is about to divorce go through, he finds a clue to the location of a haul of gold. The pair set off in search of the booty, whilst admiring one another's booties anew. Do they find the gold? Who cares! They find each other.

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence