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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
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.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week