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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.27%
Worth A Look: 13.64%
Pretty Bad: 20.45%
Total Crap: 22.73%

9 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Failure to Launch
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by Jason Whyte

"How to lose Matthew McConaughey in 100 minutes."
3 stars

“Failure to Launch” is a movie that nearly evaluates itself in its title, a film that tries to come off as a romantic comedy with a bit of originality in itself and yet still never really gets off the ground. With that said, I found some of the film enjoyable even if most of it wasn’t really working; for every good supporting performance and likeable line of dialogue, we have Sarah Jessica Parker stinking up the screen with her ego and the always enjoyable Matthew McConaughey in a perplexing role.

I say perplexing, because his character Trip is a 35 year old bachelor who still lives at home with his parents. Trip has no problem with the ladies and is very confident, but has problems with maintaining an actual relationship; for the most part because his parents (Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates) are sleeping in the other room.

Enter Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), a woman who specializes in “interventions” and is hired by Trip’s parents to get her to move them out of the house. While Trip sees this as another romantic opportunity, Paula thinks it can be easy for Trip to think more about independence and hopefully get him to move out on his own. And since this is a romantic comedy from a major studio, we are naturally going to have conflicts and comedic mishaps abound, mostly involving animals (more on that later).

Wouldn’t it have been nice for Paula to simply meet Trip, falls for him, he falls for her in return, the truth would quickly come out and they could deal with it, rather than having all of this backtalking, scenes with their friends and the minutes count on until the eventual unveiling of secrets?

How bizarre, that the two leads have absolutely no sparks together. Parker, who brings too much of her prima donna lifestyle to the screen (her “Look at me…why are you looking at me? STOP looking at me!” attitude is very evident here) is wholly nasty, pretty much at the hands of the plot. She’s wrongly cast for someone like Matthew McConaughey, who is quite gifted at comedy (Wooderson in “Dazed and Confused”, people!) and acquits himself nicely here, even if we don’t believe for a second that this really good looking guy would EVER want to stay at home with mom and dad.

The film gets lot of mileage from its supporting characters, especially Justin Bartha (from his infamous performance in “Gigli”) and Zooey Deschanel (from “Almost Famous” and “All The Real Girls”) as best friends to Trip and Paula. The two actors are so funny and develop a nice relationship later on the film; it’s so enjoyable that we stand back and question why the film isn’t about the both of them! Bradley Cooper, who played the annoying boyfriend to Rachel McAdams in “Wedding Crashers”, also has several funny moments as another one of Trip’s buddies and is much more fun to watch in this film. As well, both Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw have some welcome moments as Trip’s parents, although I could have really done without a scene involving Bradshaw’s “Nude Room” where we get to see a full moon.

There are also a lot of animals in the film (which are kept out of the trailer; however glimpses of EVERY other scene make the cut), most of which have an absolute hatred for Trip. Dolphins abound, a chirping bird outside of Paula’s window and an adorable squirrel make cameos. And I hate to admit it, but I found myself laughing when a squirrel wouldn’t let go of Trip after he offered it a Power Bar. Those squirrels only want their nuts and not some solid peanut butter. (But think of the energy!)

What the film does have is an interesting idea; that a man who has been living home for too long must finally make that step into independence. I also liked how Paula finds herself apologizing to Trip towards the end; usually all romantic comedies have it the other way around. Still, we wish the film would try a bit harder to move outside the “Romantic Comedy 101” zone instead of sticking in the studio formula where everyone confesses and figures it all out in the last reel, and Trip and Paula live happily ever after. Trip deserves better than this.

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originally posted: 03/15/06 05:40:54
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User Comments

8/22/17 Louise Cr@p of the lowest order. Only saw it because it was shown during a flight. 1 stars
3/13/12 May Q. Horney Yes, Lenny,Zooey's best thing about it; Too bad she still might've"jumped the shark" herein 2 stars
9/21/09 the dork knight fast-paced movies with some snappy jokes. Zooey is damn cute 4 stars
1/14/09 Anonymous. another just-okay chick flick. chick flicks are usually not great films. :P 3 stars
10/03/08 Lenny Zane Shows Zooey Deschanel can be best thing in a flick even when made to look like an idiot. 2 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
9/13/08 Tabitha Cartwright Zooey Des Chanel is hilarious as mockingbird stalker, but main plot's a waste. 2 stars
10/06/07 Bitchflaps Appalling and unwatchable. Every single scene falls flat on its face. 1 stars
4/29/07 Miss Me I like it, but they could have done it with Kate Hudson instead of Sarah Jessica Parker... 4 stars
4/25/07 Snots Appalling. Almost physically painful to watch. 1 stars
4/05/07 Matt Forgettable and lacking in chemistry, but it has its funny moments. Okay for a rainy day. 3 stars
2/25/07 Jack Sommersby Absolutely dreadful from first scene to last. 1 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai The film is bad but the characters are likable but it's not a funny comedy... 2 stars
7/21/06 Joe Smaltz liked it, cute, good acting, will be around in repeats for a long time 4 stars
7/18/06 Higby Boring, devoid of originality, of humour, and I wish it were devoid of Bradshaw's bare ass! 1 stars
7/12/06 Ole Man Bourbon Cute, but has some stupid/superfluous subplots. 3 stars
7/03/06 Monday Morning I've seen a LOT worse lately. Namely, "Rumor Has It". 3 stars
7/01/06 Christopher With only a few romantic comedies a year standards drop and this becomes acceptable. OK. 3 stars
6/27/06 Louise Total crap! Can't stand MM - only watched it cos it was on the plane. 1 stars
6/21/06 Melissa Toadstool Very stupid, but still I enjoyed it. Zooey D as dumb non-blonde hilarious despite meanness. 4 stars
6/03/06 The Velcro Warlock Yep, Anna Faris, Zooey Deschanel, Mandy Moore - wish they'd all return to likeable roles! 3 stars
6/02/06 Julia Cox ZD has fallien into the Mandy Moore syndrome - Seemingly lovable actresses playing shrews. 3 stars
6/02/06 Marcia Zarwetten-Grassi O how sad, Ashley! Or do you mean "better than I"? 3 stars
5/08/06 Diane Perkins boring and very predictable 2 stars
5/03/06 Ashley OK movie, my 48 year old father liked it better than me. 3 stars
4/28/06 julie fun, entertaining, not much chemistry, but I laughed alot 4 stars
4/10/06 Ron Newbold Better than expected - but not great 3 stars
4/08/06 Eber Clease MM looked too old to be 35, he shld stick to masked parts from now on; like a LOTR's ghoul 1 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Had it's problems, but fun None-the-less. Always a fan of films made in New Orleans!!! 4 stars
3/31/06 Soha Molina ok 3 stars
3/28/06 Joe Schiappa Not as bad as you would think 3 stars
3/16/06 Steve Michaud Would have been far better had it been primarily about Zooey Deschanel's character 2 stars
3/14/06 Lester M. Davis Very good "no think" comedy. 5 stars
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  10-Mar-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Jun-2006



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