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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 Doug Bentin

"Does anyone really think this dame is funny?"
3 stars

You know what I like best about Matthew McConaughey? The fact that he couldn’t care less what I like best about him. I suspect that what you see is what you get, and the fact that you don’t see much doesn’t bother him. He’s said that he thinks his in-front-of-the-camera career is pretty funny—he intended to be a movie techie—but the money’s good and the hours aren’t bad so he has plenty of time to hang out in his trailer in Austin and shoot the bull with his buds.

Despite the impression he gives from toss-offs like this, ”The Wedding Planner” or “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” he can act. You have to search out films like “Frailty” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” to catch him at it.

In “Failure to Launch” he plays Tripp, a guy in his mid-thirties who still lives with his parents. He’s had the same bedroom for 32 years and has no intention to move out. In fact, when his current girlfriend starts getting too serious, Trip takes her back to “his place” and allows her to find out about his folks (Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates). Shocked at his arrested development, they dump him.

In order to get their lives back, the folks hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) to pretend to fall in love with him. When he becomes dependant on her, he will get his own place.

That’s how it works in theory, anyway, but this is a romcom so the course of true love must be, well, coarse. The roughest patch comes from Parker’s and McConaughey’s dislike of each other. Lots of acting teams have harbored an offstage antagonism, but this one shows. Neither actor looks like s/he is having any fun when they’re together.

Fortunately, the always dependable Zooey Deschanel is along as Paula’s housemate, and Bates and Bradshaw—especially the latter—are having a ball. As a public service warning I have to tell you that the Blonde Bomber provides the film with its only nude scene, and it ain’t pretty.

The picture contains more than a few of those over-the-top moments that are so typical of romantic comedies, and most of them are actually pretty funny. It all works better than expected when Parker isn’t on the screen. She’s the anchor that keeps the film from sailing. But maybe it’s just me. I don’t find her attractive, nor do I think she carries her share of the comedy. McConaughey’s hey-can-you-believe-they-pay-me-to-do-this insouciance helps get the flick beyond Parker’s dead stops. Her success is in equal parts mystifying and appalling to me. Here she’s in a film with McConaughey and reviewers still pick on him. What’s with that?

The starting point is a cynical one—the idea that parents can’t wait to get their kids out of the house, and the kids don’t want to leave all that free domestic help—and I wish director Tom Dey had the courage of that cynicism. He rushes into the romcom stuff as quickly as he can so we won’t have much time to meditate on the more rotten elements in the characters’ personalities, and that haste is what turn “Failure to Launch” into the tepid comedy it is instead of into a memorable satire.

You’ll smile, you’ll laugh, you’ll forget all about it on the way home. Actually, you may not be able to forget Bradshaw’s beer gut and pasty white ass. But you’ll sure try.

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originally posted: 03/22/06 03:37:28
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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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