Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
|Featuring:||Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper|
“To leave the nest, some men just need a little push.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A thirtysomething man who still lives with his parents falls in love with the woman of his dreams and begins to suspect she has been hired by his parents as a way to get him out of the house.”
I promised myself before ever stepping foot into the theater to see “Failure to Launch” that under no circumstance, and no matter how bad the film was, I would not use the title as a joke describing the ineptitude of the film. I confess, having now seen the film, that keeping the promise will be very difficult. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel, and NFL great Terry Bradshaw; all of whom are talented in their own right, but they embarrass themselves and put an ugly stain on their careers by putting their names to this. They aren’t necessarily bad in the film, it’s just that the movie is so bad, they could have given Oscar worthy performances and it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s kind of like watching Jerry Rice, quite possibly the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL, ham it up on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” You know these people are better than this, capable of so much more, yet for some strange reason they feel called to take on projects like this. Surely their bills can’t be that bad.
McConaughey plays Tripp, a 35 year-old boat broker who still lives at home with his parents Al and Sue (Bates and Bradshaw). Tripp uses this to his advantage in the relationship arena. He doesn’t let on to dates that he hasn’t moved out, and when he sees that a relationship is moving into the serious zone, he takes them home, where they inevitably meet the parents. He then is of course branded a loser by the girl, who leaves him to find another girl to continue the cycle.
Well, Al and Sue have had enough of his mooching. At a barbeque one afternoon, they are talking to their friends who all seem to have had the same problem of their children not wanting to move out. One couple announces, rather dramatically, that they finally got their son out of the house by using a secret weapon none of them even knew existed. Her name is Paula, and she is played by Sarah Jessica Parker. Paula specializes in getting grown men out of their parent’s houses by, basically, dating them, using a tried and true technique of getting them to reach the point of falling in love with her, thus somehow getting them to move out. She then breaks up with them, and they (we are told) live happily ever after, away from their parents.
Now, I was sort of curious how this would work, but we don’t get to see her in action prior to meeting Tripp. I thought that maybe having the woman they are in love with break their hearts would make them want to move back in, but I guess that raises too many questions. And in a movie that runs 97 minutes, there really isn’t enough time for questions, especially when most of the secondary scenes are filled with slightly psychotic animals.
The movie probably could have been titled “When Animals Attack Celebrities,” but that might not have played to audiences as well. Let’s see, there is a lunatic mockingbird (who sounds like no mockingbird I have ever heard, more like a collection of random street noises), a pack of murderous dolphins, a Hannibal Lecter-like chipmunk (who seems to prefer human flesh over chocolate), and a “vegetarian lizard” who breaks from his food preferences just long enough to teach Tripp a valuable life lesson. Well, here is a quick lesson in comedies. Anytime a comedy writer has to resort to slapstick animal humor to make up for their less than stellar dialogue, your chances of getting a good movie are about as good as me keeping the image of Terry Bradshaw’s naked backside from haunting me for the rest of my life—slim to none. Which leads me to the film’s content.
Aside from the afore-mentioned nudity, there are a few sexual encounters between non-married people, although none contain any more nudity. There is a good deal of language, some rather strong. Tripp uses the F-word and a plethora of other words throughout the film, particularly during his encounter with Flipper. Other characters use profanity through film, including a few uses of God’s name in vain. There is alcohol use, mostly by Paula’s friend Kit (Zooey Deschanel), who seems to live each day for the bottle. And the moral issues of manipulation and deceit work there way into the film, making this a film parents will want to at least check out before sending their kids to see it.
To be completely honest, I went into this movie not expecting much, not expecting to even laugh really, and for the most part I got what I expected. If there is one bright spot (although it is more like a dimmed bright spot) it is a rather funny performance by Zooey Deschanel, whose character obsesses over the bizarre mockingbird that won’t shut up. Here’s the thing though, it isn’t the mockingbird that makes her funny. Her line delivery, sarcastic sense of humor, and constant look of sheer annoyance are what lifts her above the rest of the cast, and above the animals. Perhaps the screenwriters should have spent a little more time developing good dialogue and a cohesive plot, instead of cheating themselves and us with cheap animal gags. All this and I haven’t even touched the ending, which is so preposterous it makes even “Hitch” look like a romantic comedy classic. If you’re looking for a good romantic comedy, do yourself a favor and look somewhere else.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.