Mar 23, 2006|
The formulaic romantic comedy Failure to Launch never achieves liftoff.
How on earth did Sarah Jessica Parker get from the sassy and smart TV series Sex and the City to the charmless romantic comedy Failure to Launch? This extremely commercial and unoriginal film by director Tom Dey (Shanghai Noon) pairs her up with a very buff Matthew McConaughey, but the two generate hardly any heat here. In fact, this is one of the most gimmicky films of its kind yet, after 2003’s How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, which also starred McConaughey. In fact, Failure to Launch is ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days Part Deux’, and a worse one too.
McConaughey is 35-year-old Tripp, a perennial bachelor who is still staying with his parents Al (Terry Bradshaw, Robots) and Sue (Kathy Bates, Misery). The two are so desperate to get him out of the house they hire relationship “therapist” Paula (Parker) to expedite Tripp’s exit. Paula’s method is a tad suspect, but apparently she works like a charm. Tripp, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier for Paula to handle. Smart, charming and handsome, he lives at home not only because it’s convenient, but also because it’s the perfect excuse for ending relationships that get too serious for him.
Once Paula realizes that Tripp is about to dump her after a few dates, she unleashes a new plan of her own; but when Tripp discovers that Paula is a hired help, he masterminds a counterattack. After much squabbling between the two, the film stumbles its way to a happy ending without generating either much romance or comedy. In fact, this is one of the blandest and unfunniest romantic comedies we’ve ever seen.
There’s some really stupid physical comedy involved in this film, especially those that involve Tripp being attacked by creatures like chipmunks, dolphins and vegetarian lizards, which is just plain ridiculous. The attack is presumably because Tripp is “at odds with nature,” a thoroughly uncooked idea by screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Amber, which the two have unsuccessfully linked to another subplot involving Paula’s best friend Kit’s (Zooey Deschanel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) ongoing battle with a mockingbird (you’ve got to laugh). The film’s other contrived moments include Kit’s sex romp with Tripp’s nerdy good friend Ace (Justin Bartha, who played the retard in Gigli, and who is just as annoying here); and of Al and his newfound freedom by turning Tripps’s room into a “naked room.”
Failure to Launch not only never achieves liftoff, it’s just downright disastrous.