Failure to Launch (2006)
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Review Date: March 26, 2006
Director: Tom Dey
Writer: Tom Astle, Matt Ember
Producers: Scott Rudin, Scott Aversano
Matthew McConaughey as Tripp
Sarah Jessica Parker as Paula
Zooey Deschanel as Kit
A mother and father, frustrated with their 35-year old son still living at home, hire a woman who acts as an “interventionist” to pretend to fall for him, get him to fall for her and ultimately get him to move out of their house. Don’t ask…just go with it! What follows is my life story, except for the fact that my parents love me, I’m also running my business out of their house and there are no girls (interventionists or not) coming in and out of my life…just a trolley o’ hookers, folks. But I digress.
This film doesn’t really try to break any new ground, nor does it do a particularly impressive job of delivering in its cliché-ridden outline, but it does feature a decent enough “twist” on the old relationship flick with a high concept idea of a woman hired by parents to drive their older son out of their home, and the always-refreshing appearance of the lovely Zooey Deschanel, as well as a few effective moments. Oh, and did I mention that I have a little “thing” for Matthew McConaughey? Well, I do and if you slap his charming mug as the lead in any half-assed romantic comedy, I’m likely to go along, as long as it doesn’t insult my intelligence too much and he takes off his shirt at least once…or twice…or thrice! The film also features a fun couple as his parents, namely Kathy Bates and the surprisingly effective ex-quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Some of you might be wondering if Ms. Bates drops her towel in this film as she so infamously did in ABOUT SCHMIDT, but wonder no more as she keeps all of her clothes on in this one—unlike Mr. Bradshaw who walks around naked for about a minute in one full scene. Of course, he doesn’t showcase his kittles and bits, but does proudly flaunt his backside. I’m not really sure what to say about that, but there you have it! Knowledge is power.

Ass shots aside, I guess one of my main peeves with this film, other than its obvious predictable nature, was Sarah Jessica Parker as its female lead. I’m not 100% sure if it’s simply because I find her unattractive and generally unappealing, or if her character simply wasn’t written as “loving”, “cute” or “engaging”, but either way, I wasn’t all that interested in her relationship with Mac, as I was with the smaller subplot relationship between Deschanel and Justin Bartha. In fact, in “my world”, I would have Deschanel in the lead spot vis-à-vis Mac with Parker as the “quirky friend”…but maybe that’s just me! The film also starts pretty slowly with most of the basics covered as we, the audience, are “in on the scam” from the get-go and therefore, not all that engaged in the so-called relationship presented to us. As a non-20-something also STILL living at home with his parents, I also thought it was quite funny how the three friends seemed to participate in more activities in the two weeks on screen, than I have in the past decade of my life. Wow…what a great existence! Once the cat is tossed out of the bag though, things get a little more interesting, but even then, you sorta know where the whole thing is headed, and unfortunately for us, it includes some lame spy-camera-laden scenario featuring much of the free world watching this charmless couple kibitzing about their issues. Pullleazzee! (word on the street is that Mac and Parker weren’t too chummy on the set, which might explain their lack of chemistry as well)

In the end though, like I said before, it was sorta fun for me to watch this flick because I could sadly relate to some of what this mama’s boy was still going through, while at the same time, appreciating McConaughey and Deschanel’s performances, as well as some fun sequences, including one in which Bartha performs CPR on a bird. Yeah, I went with it. That scene is actually the only one in the entire film that made me laugh incidentally. It’s more of a “smile” film. Bottom line: check it out on DVD, especially if you’re in your 30s and still cohabitating with those who gave you life, or simply if you have a girlfriend who wants you to watch a “chick flick” with her. I’ve certainly seen worse and you’ve always got the McConaughey and Deschanel boats to fall back on.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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