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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 Erik Childress

"Dr. Strangelove, or How To Move Out Of Your Parents House In 10 Days"
2 stars

Some people are forced into adulthood at an early age while others just mature faster and act more responsible in preparation for their future. The common joke about “the parent’s basement” is a cliché synonymous with loser or leech. But no one associates someone like Matthew McConaughey with the poster boy image for the reverse empty nest. I’m not sure what the joke is supposed to be in Failure To Launch and neither do the filmmakers appear to know, stuffing a bland relationship movie with more animal attacks than witnessed by Timothy Treadwell and forcing us to care about the wrong relationship. There’s a potentially great indie movie lurking within the corners of Failure To Launch but its wedged into one more studio romantic comedy that Date Movie would have again missed the mark on.

McConaughey plays the charmer named Trip. He’s a boat broker, has a couple buddies and is none too shabby with the ladies either. When one of them scares him into getting serious, he takes them home to meet the parents (Terry Bradshaw & Kathy Bates). In the true mi casa/su casa way, Trip lives at home which horrifies his ladyfriends to no end. After all, why would a chiseled, good-lookin’ 35 year-old man want to live at home where the cookin’ is good? A better question would be why Trip would have his father spring the big surprise while he’s getting some.

Our questions come faster and more furious when a meet-cute between Trip and Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) turns out to be little more than a set-up and not of the blind date kind. This is no spoiler since we’re cued in right away than Mom & Pop have hired this “professional interventionist” to become more than friends with their son and inspire him to move out. This logic is flawed on a retarded level, not to even go into Trip’s history for the self-abort of his own launch.

First of all, Trip is not the ideal candidate for Linda’s theories. She is likely more accustomed to guys who are socially awkward, love the D&D and generally would never have a shot with someone like Sarah Jessica Parker. The confidence building of her step-by-step plan would require a person with low self-esteem ready to take that next leap in life. But the screenplay by sitcom writers Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember never factors in the issues of money, nor the potential heartbreak felt by one of her clients after she dumps them, which speculation would deem they would fall further into self-doubt and a darker corner of that basement. Maybe even with a noose. Plus, if Trip’s parents are aware of his usual plot to dump the girl before she even gets close to getting serious, isn’t that like betting on a horse with three legs?

As charming as McConaughey is, there is nothing to believe about his relationship with Parker because the script has already asked us not to believe it. On the other hand there’s Kit, Linda’s sister played by Zooey Deschanel. She’s probably the most miserable character in the film, prone to never going anywhere without a drink in her hand, and yet she feels like the most genuine article in the whole film. It’s the kind of not-caring-about-anything role that Zooey has been typecast into countlessly (most memorably in The Good Girl), but when you have a character mirroring our disinterest in the deception and annoyances all around her it’s easy to latch onto her. Which we do, since Deschanel is very funny. And when she becomes the interest of Trip’s somewhat nerdy friend, Ace (Justin Bartha) it’s not that far a leap to wish this was the story we were following all along. Like Trip and their other friend, Demo (Bradley Cooper) – Ace also lives at home (although he’s given a more practical explanation) and it would have been great to see these two social outcasts discover each other in more than just a few fleeting scenes.

Some movies are on auto-pilot from the get-go. Failure To Launch doesn’t even have a pilot. Director Tom Dey has three different scenes in 90 minutes. There are the McConaughey/Parker/Bradshaw/Bates moments, the Trip/Ace/Demo male bonding during exercise and extreme sports scenes and the aforementioned animal attacks (of which there are FOUR of) supposedly meant to signify nature’s rejection of Trip’s life choices (although one doesn’t involve Trip at all and is just there to satisfy the audience’s need for high-brow comedy.) Like when the issue of sexual harassment was finally tackled (but reversed) in Disclosure, Failure To Launch bypasses the Star Wars geeks and gives hope to all the People’s Sexiest Men Alive who just can’t move out of their parent’s homes while those like Zooey’s Kit should avoid launching into witless studio projects and wait for an indie screenplay with its feet firmly planted on the ground with something to say.

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originally posted: 03/10/06 16:34:00
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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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