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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.27%
Worth A Look: 13.64%
Just Average40.91%
Pretty Crappy: 20.45%
Sucks: 22.73%

9 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Failure to Launch
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by Mel Valentin

"Another generic, forgettable romcom with zero chemistry between the leads."
3 stars

In "Failure to Launch," a romantic comedy directed by Tom Dey ("Shanghai Noon"), a 35-year old semi-slacker, Trip (Matthew McConaughey), prefers the ease and comfort of living with his parents, Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates), than living on his own. Al is more than eager for Trip to move on and move out. Sue is the classic enabler. Part of her wants Trip to move on too, but another part of her wants to coddle and care for him. To that end, she's both cook and housemaid. Trip's slacker friends, Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper), also live with their parents (it seems to be a neighborhood epidemic, as one scene involving middle-age parents seems to indicate). Al has had enough, especially after Trip brings his latest girlfriend home to "meet the parents" (Trip's passive-aggressive way to force a breakup).

Al and Sue hire Paula, a professional interventionist (i.e., a therapist of some kind, but itís unclear whether sheís actually licensed to practice psychotherapy), to help convince Trip to move out on his own. Paula has made a living at surreptitiously helping child-men like Trip develop self-esteem and confidence by acting as a surrogate girlfriend. Paula has dating down to an emotion-free science. It helps that Trip is tall, well tanned and has charm and self-confidence to spare (and letís not forget a gleaming set of porcelain white teeth). So why is still living with his parents? The short answer: Trip has commitment issues, but he's not quite the egotist he appears to be. For one, he spends quality time with his "nephew." Trip's friend Ace, a socially awkward software engineer, has a crush on Paula's acerbic, sharp-tongued, temperamental roommate, Kit (Zooey Deschanel).

As Trip and Paula play act at romance, Failure to Launch goes where every romantic comedy has gone before, with reversals, revelations, betrayals, and the inevitable (this is a romantic comedy, after all) affirmation of monogamous bliss as the end credits roll. The obstacles facing couples in romantic couples come in predictable varieties, from class, to race, preexisting relationships, even to gender orientation, but often the obstacles are internal, e.g., prejudices, biases, misconceptions, or, as in Failure to Launch, deception and fraud.

Much of the comedy (what there is) in Failure to Launch comes from Kit's wry, cynical one-liners and her near homicidal response to a mockingbird that won't let her sleep at night (there's a highly humorous scene inside a Wal-Mart-like store where Kit tries to buy a shotgun from a concerned salesperson played by The Daily Show's Rob Cordry). Then there are Trip's unfortunate encounters with hostile wildlife that don't jell with the rest of the film. Demo gives us the punchline: Trip's life is out of natural balance (as if we needed a running gag that turns on literalizing a metaphor) There's also a painfully funny gag involving Al's free-wheeling, let-it-all-hang-out inclination (it's memorable, but perhaps not in the way the filmmakers intended).

But let's get to the heart of the matter, romantic comedies depend on the chemistry between the leads, and while McConaughey and Parker throw off the occasional spark, they just donít sizzle together. McConaughey's (limited) range makes him well suited for lightweight romantic comedies, but pairing him with Parker turned out to be bad, hard-to-figure-out choice (and someone, anyone, please turn down the brightness on McConaughey's teeth). The rest of the cast, particularly Bartha, Cooper, and Deschanel fare better in supporting roles. Cooper could (and should) probably carry a lead role in a romantic comedy, while Bartha and Deschanel share an off-kilter chemistry that wouldn't have been out of place in an indie film. Alas, Kathy Bates has little to do here, with the exception of a confessional scene late in the film.

Let's face it, "Failure to Launch" isn't (and wasn't) made for cynics or viewers (and critics) easily disturbed by a credibility-stretching premise and slightly unsympathetic central characters. It's admittedly quite a lot to accept, but if you go with it, "Failure to Launch" isn't a half-bad way to spend a Saturday evening at the local multiplex. Other than that, though, "Failure to Launch" is another generic, forgettable romantic comedy that Hollywood seems to churn out on a regular basis.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14094&reviewer=402
originally posted: 03/27/06 03:46:11
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User Comments

8/21/17 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
9/20/09 the dork knight fast-paced movies with some snappy jokes. Zooey is damn cute 4 stars
1/13/09 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
9/30/08 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
10/05/07 Bitchflaps Appalling and unwatchable. Every single scene falls flat on its face. 1 stars
4/28/07 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
2/24/07 Jack Sommersby Absolutely dreadful from first scene to last. 1 stars
12/04/06 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
7/11/06 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
6/30/06 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
6/02/06 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
5/07/06 Diane Perkins boring and very predictable 2 stars
5/02/06 Ashley OK movie, my 48 year old father liked it better than me. 3 stars
4/27/06 julie fun, entertaining, not much chemistry, but I laughed alot 4 stars
4/09/06 Ron Newbold Better than expected - but not great 3 stars
4/07/06 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
3/30/06 Soha Molina ok 3 stars
3/27/06 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
3/13/06 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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