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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 brianorndorf

"You'll hate every character and every moment"
1 stars

“Failure to Launch” is a romantic comedy that will make you hate romantic comedies. It is pure drivel, created with the idea that anything involving love will automatically draw the viewer in, yet fails to provide any evidence why anyone should care. The film is needlessly broad too, twisting the knife further while it parades around slapstick more suited to episodes of “Yes, Dear.”

Trip (Matthew McConaughey) is a single, successful heartbreaker who also happens to be a 35 year-old man still living at home with his devoted parents (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw). Feeling the urge to push him out into the world, Mom and Dad hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), a relationship expert who, for the right price, will woo and encourage her targets to embrace life on their own. Trouble is, Paula starts to fall in love with Trip at the same time he catches onto the hoax.

Remember “Showtime?” The disgraceful 2002 Eddie Murphy/Robert DeNiro comedic disaster? Yeah, they let the guy who made that direct again. Hollywood never disappoints.

“Failure to Launch” comes from a studio that wants another “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” size hit, but commissioned a script that has more in common with a particularly awful Benny Hill sketch. As romantic comedies go, “Launch” is one of the worst in recent memory, lazily expecting the audience to fall in love with it while the material fails to provide a single reason why anyone should care. And the poor quality of the film is not due to just the clichés that are so prevalent in the genre. It’s like spitting into the wind to complain about them. This film doesn’t suffer from clichés, it suffers from bad ideas.

Director Tom Dey makes about every wrong move a filmmaker can make with lighthearted material. First and foremost, his framing is too tight to allow for breathing space, and his editing rhythms are inappropriate for the desired frothy tone. “Launch,” at 90 minutes, is after speed, and Dey achieves that at the expense of turning his own film into a highlight reel of genre ideas and slapstick sequences. There are enormous gaps in the story, but Dey doesn’t mind, as long as there’s room for pointless tangents involving Paula and Trip’s sitcom-wacky friends, including Bradley Cooper, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Bartha (I would love to have a chat with the person who told this guy he was funny). And when this material dries up, there are numerous slapstick sequences where Trip is bitten by animals, most of which are staged like outtakes from “The Flintstones.”

I always thought the reason for a romantic comedy was to root for the characters. “Failure to Launch” doesn’t welcome anything remotely approaching participation. On one side is Trip, who Dey can’t depict with sensitivity, and instead turns the character into a paintball-shootin’, home cooking-lovin’ cartoon so the people in the back row will understand that Trip is a wounded man-boy waiting for love. Performed with unusual shrillness by McConaughey, the actor overplays his hand constantly, and ends up making Trip feel like one of those slime balls who tries to sweet talk underage girls into appearing in adult films.

As for Paula, what kind of a job is that anyway? Basically she’s a hooker with a master’s degree, and again Dey tries to pound home some sense of vulnerability and remorse in the late moments, but those feelings cannot coexist in film with a scene that has Bartha performing CPR on a mockingbird he’s shot with a BB gun, or an incident where Trip is bitten by a lizard puppet, who then laughs at his victory over man. My head hurts.

There’s not a single moment to hope that Trip and Paula will find love. Not a single moment that proves so much time with the secondary characters was worth the distraction. And there’s not a single moment of warmth to this production. This is a bloated SNL sketch comedy film, complete with Terry Bradshaw nudity and a cast pausing for the audience to laugh.

I never thought the day would come that such a horrible film could feature both the bottomlessly adorable and tart Deschanel and a cameo by top comic, Patton Oswalt. My friends, maybe the end is near.

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originally posted: 03/10/06 15:53:55
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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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