CORPORATE LINE: Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker, SEX AND THE CITY) has a highly unusual job in this at times cartoonish romantic comedy: she’s an interventionist. What this means is that parents of young men who are still living at home well into adulthood can hire her to date their sons, which lends the often troubled men the fortitude to strike out on their own. Trip (Matthew McConaughey) seemingly fits this description perfectly; a 35-year-old extreme sports enthusiast and boat salesman, he uses his living situation to quickly end any relationship that becomes too serious. Trip’s doting mother (Kathy Bates) and quirky father (former quarterbackTerry Bradshaw) hire Paula at their friends’ adamant recommendation, and she sets about her tried-and-true method of winning Trip over. A few obstacles emerge, however, as Trip’s buddy Ace (Justin Bartha) finds out the truth, and must be bribed by a date with Paula’s hilariously hostile roommate Kit (Zooey Deschanel). Paula also discovers a few things about Trip’s past that make her realize how different he is from the rest of her clients, but just as she begins to develop real feelings for him, disaster strikes.
Though somewhat meandering in its plotline, some of the best and funniest moments in FAILURE TO LAUNCH are provided by its supporting cast. Deschanel provides dry, intelligent humor in a subplot involving a mockingbird that’s taken up residence outside her window, as well as her courtship by adoring suitor Ace. Bates as usual gives a complex performance, doing much with the part provided for her, while a game Bradshaw is appealing in his eccentricities. The film’s somewhat fantastical plot is quickly eclipsed by the charm of the characters, the irresistible slapstick humor, and, in the end, heartwarming sentiment and lessons learned.
THE REVIEW: Failure To Launch has a premise that doesn’t hold up for the length of the movie. Every character is cliché from the lead hunk McConaughey to his comic relief friend Ace and annoying goth chick friend Kit. You have to wonder sometimes if people who write scripts every leave their homes.
Woman will swoon over McConaughey and his six-pack abs—but his abs don’t help guys watching the films—and his acting doesn’t do anything else to sell his character. The usually entertaining Sarah Jessica Parker is dulled down a few notches. Parker tries to muster chemistry with McConaughey and it feels forced throughout. Parker should have been able to navigate this script better since it comes off as a Sex and the City episode.
“Casting off: the Making of Failure to Launch” – This featurette takes interview clips from the film’s press junket.
“The Failure to Launch Phenomenon” – This is a lame extra that has interviews with “Twixters” which are adults still living with the parents.
“Dating in the New Millennium” – A featurette on online dating and a nice plug for an online website.
Moviefone.com Unscripted – Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw interview each other. It’s nice to have two down-home guys chatting.
“The Failure to Launch Contest” – This senseless extra does nothing for the DVD. The contest isn’t running anymore so it’s only promoting the fact that they had a contest and who won.
Finally there is a theatrical trailer.
FRANKLY: Failure To Launch suffers from a lack of dialogue that won’t keep anyone interested. Even McConaughey’s abs can only keep the female interested so long. Guys will fall asleep well before the movie hits the halfway mark. Failure To Launch starts with a one-trick premise that would have been better as a part of a Sex and the City episode—not a full-length movie.
+ Charlie Craine