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Bullock, McConaughey ready to create sparks

These boy-meets-girl stories may seem familiar but with the right star chemistry they can create electricity between unlikely co-stars.
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Romantic comedies tend to take a bad rap. Sure, their boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-back-girl stories are overly familiar. And they do tend to have really wretched soundtracks, but stars with the right chemistry can really bring one of these so-called “chick flicks” to life. Can Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner create sparks? How about Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds or Jessica Biel and Ben Barnes? Only one way to find out, go see ‘em (or wait to watch them on cable the way I usually do).

“The Proposal”
Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Malin Akerman, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen Director: Anne Fletcher Story: When a high-powered book editor (Bullock) is about to be deported back to Canada, she decides that the answer to avoiding this lies in marrying her beleaguered assistant (Reynolds). The couple heads to Alaska to meet his family (Steenburgen, Nelson, Betty White) and try to convince them that they’re serious about getting married. Worth seeing? Unlikely. Bullock is one of the most likeable actresses around, but this looks like pretty standard rom-com fare. Director Fletcher is responsible for the horrible “27 Dresses.” Reynolds is a strange case of someone who keeps being thrust on audiences as a star, but doesn’t really have the chops or the comedic ability to back it up. The bright spot of this film is likely to be Betty White. Web site: date: June 19

“The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Lacey Chabert, Emma Stone, Christina Milan, Michael Douglas, Breckin Meyer, Robert Forster Director: Mark Waters Story: McConaughey stars as celebrity photographer Connor Mead, who loves women … a lot of them. He’s had relationships last for months, hours and even minutes before he decided to break up with the girl. The night before his brother (Meyer) gets married, he is visited by the ghosts of girlfriends past, who help him discover what turned him into such a womanizer. And he also discovers that his true love (Garner) might be right in front of him. Worth seeing? Maybe. It’s basically the rom-com version of “A Christmas Carol,” but Garner can be awfully appealing in the right romantic comedy. Let’s just hope it’s more “13 Going on 30” than “Catch and Release.” Garner’s real-life husband Affleck was originally going to star. Director Helms has made some good movies (“Freaky Friday,” “Mean Girls”) and some terrible ones (“Just Like Heaven,” “Head Over Heels”). Web site: Release date: May 1

“My Life in Ruins”
Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Harland Williams, Rachel Dratch Director: Donald Petrie Story: Georgia (Vardalos) travels to Greece to regain her zest for life and becomes a tour guide. When she leads a particular group of misfits who are more interested in T-shirts than history, she meets Irv (Dreyfuss), who shows her how to have fun. He also encourages her to take a try at love with the handsome Greek bus driver (Alexis Georgoulis). Worth seeing? Could be cute. Vardalos is certainly easy for women to relate to — she still seems like a real person rather than an actress. It’s hard not to breathe a sigh of relief when you realize that Dreyfus and Vardalos don’t become a couple in this film. Petrie is the king of the meh-comedy (“Grumpy Old Men,” “Just My Luck,” “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days”). Web site: Release date: May 8

“Easy Virtue”
Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth, Kimberley Nixon, Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall Director: Stephan Elliott Story: Based on Noel Coward’s play and set in the 1920s, the film tells the story of an American widow (Biel) who impulsively marries a young Englishman (Barnes). Barnes’ mother (Thomas) takes an instant dislike to Biel and the two engage in a battle of wits. Firth co-stars as Barnes’ father. Worth seeing? Yes. Elliott (“The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert”) has just the right light touch for Coward. One Ain’t It Cool writer said, “It's been a while since I've laughed this loudly in a movie.” And Reuters’ Silvia Aloisi wrote, “It also turns the period film genre on its head with fast-paced, sassy dialogues.” Web site: NARelease date: May 22

“Away We Go”
John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney Director: Sam Mendes Story: Krasinksi and Rudolph star as a couple expecting their first baby who decide to travel to the U.S. in search of a place to settle down. Worth seeing? Yes. The looks like it has a real "Garden State," sweet indie romance feel. It's definitely a strange combo of director, Mendes (“Revolutionary Road”), cast and writer; novelist Dave Eggers (“What is the What?”) co-wrote the screenplay. But it’s hard not to be intrigued by all these seemingly ill-fitting parts coming together. Web site: NA Release date: June 5