|Failure to Launch (2006)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Kathy Bates, Terry Bradshaw, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha
When going to see a romantic comedy, there are a few things you can almost always expect: beautiful people, knotty relationships, and a happy ending. In fact, you can look forward to seeing all three of these in the latest Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle “Failure to Launch,” but here are a few things you won’t expect: Terry Bradshaw’s bare-naked ass, a mockingbird receiving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and plenty more I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened slapstick set pieces. And while the film definitely has a silly side to it (McConaughey’s character even has a nasty run of bad luck with animals biting him), it’s hardly comparable to a genre classic like “There’s Something About Mary.”
“Failure to Launch” stars McConaughey as Tripp, a down-to-earth thirtysomething with a penchant for easy women and uncomplicated relationships. In fact, if you’re a woman who’s even hinting at the possibility of a long-term commitment, Tripp will bring you home to meet the parents (played by Kathy Bates and Bradshaw) – with whom he still lives - and dump you the next day. His two best friends, Ace and Demo (Justin Bartha and Bradley Cooper, respectively), also still live at home and are proud adultolescents that find little shame in the prospect of mooching off their parents forever. Tripp’s parents, however, aren’t as excited about their son’s plans to bunk in the spare bedroom for the rest of his life, and in a desperate attempt to be proactive, they hire Paula (Parker), a “professional interventionist” to seduce Tripp into moving out.
Director Tom Dey’s film is yet another by-the-numbers romantic comedy where the same tired escapades ensue, including one character’s climactic discovery of the other’s secret (in this case, when Tripp finds out about Paula’s career as a female Hitch), and their eventual reunion at the end. This is run-of-the-mill material being presented here, and unless you’re a fan of the genre, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find anything that makes this movie stand out from the countless others. Perhaps the biggest problem with “Failure to Launch” is the audience’s complete disregard for the main characters. Frankly, Tripp and Paula are just a pair of big crybabies, and there’s no real reason to like them or worry over whether or not they’ll end up together.
In fact, the supporting cast is a lot more interesting, namely Bates and Bradshaw, who play off one another brilliantly, and the quirky Zooey Deschanel (as Paula’s roommate Kit) and Bartha, who’s unlikely onscreen relationship is by far the funniest part of the film. Deschanel continues to be cast in the role of the supporting female, which only begs the question: when is Hollywood finally going to give her a shot? The young firecracker is everything you could want in a leading lady, and yet it seems like the masses have deemed her “not pretty enough” to carry a film. We couldn't really care less if McConaughey’s character ever moves out of his parent’s house. If there’s one thing failing to launch, it’s this young lady's career.
The DVD release of “Failure to Launch” actually has quite a few interesting special features, but sadly, half of them don’t even pertain to the movie itself, including “The Failure to Launch Phenomenon,” which looks at real-life adult males who still live at home with their parents, and “Dating in the New Millennium,” a seven-minute featurette about online dating. Of course, the usual making-of featurette (“Casting Off”) makes an appearance, as does a hilarious sitdown with Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw (“Moviefone.com Unscripted”) where the two actors interview one another. The single-disc DVD also includes a film’s theatrical trailer, as well as the results of the “Failure to Launch” contest.