Customer Reviews: Failure to Launch
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on July 4, 2006
Totally formulaic and with such an outrageous premise that it's almost impossible to take seriously, Failure to Launch is mostly saved by the charisma of its all star cast, particularly the attractive supporting players who garner most of the film's few laughs. It's a movie that constantly hovers around sit-com territory, even though somewhere in the depths of its mediocrity it presents a very real and disturbing issue - the phenomenon of thirty something males, or "boy men" who still like to live at home with their parents

Mathew McConaughey is Trip, a commitment-phobic 35-year-old whose "failure to launch" means he's still living with his parents in their tidy suburban home, enjoying Mom's egg and pancake breakfasts whilst she contentedly does his washing and tidies his room. Trip is a charming all round nice guy, who sells luxury yachts for a living, but he's also spoilt and somewhat sheltered and he can't keep a girlfriend because they freak out every time he brings them home to meet the parents.

Apparently there exists a profession for women whose job it is to inveigle and seduce these adolescent male adults from the nest - yes it's really true! Sarah Jessica Parker plays Paula, one such "consultant," who fell into the profession a few years earlier when she failed to disentangle herself from a beau from his mom and dad's house. Paula's been hired by Trip's parents - a capricious Kathy Bates and a laidback Terry Bradshaw - to seduce Trip on the assumption his newborn passion will motivate him to grow up and leave home.

No surprises here - it's boy meets girl and accidentally fall in love, boy and girl have a misunderstanding and then eventually come together again. And I'm still not sure whether Trip ever actually moved out of home - maybe he ended up buying the boat! McConaughey and Parker have a great deal of chemistry together, and Parker is always fun to watch, but they are constantly left high and dry with thanklessly predictable scenes.

Zooey Deschanel is, as usual, a standout as Paula's sardonic, possibly manic-depressive roommate, her brand of humor is impossibly dry and she turns the character into a wonderful comic foil. Tripp's only friends, Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper), also are stay-at-homers and provide some welcome eye candy to the proceedings, especially up-and-coming actor Bradley Cooper. Failure to Launch is pretty much a movie of comic stupidity and distractions, basically aiming for the lowest common denominator in entertainment.

Along with a bunch of stupid - but admittedly cute - pet tricks, the characters play paintball games, go sailing and then rock climbing, they eat lunch in fish restaurants and have silly, petty arguments - there's a real sense of desperation with the writers here - anything to build a false sense of forward thrust into a story that is predictably dead on arrival. Mike Leonard July 06.
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on June 28, 2006
I think most people will agree that what makes a romantic comedy work is chemistry. And if there's zero chemistry between the romantic leads, then be sure to have People's Sexiest Man Alive 2005 shirtless in the first scene of the movie.

The producers got one of the above right.

"Failure to Launch" is a simple tale about Tripp's (Matthew McConaghey) parents hiring a motivator, Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) to get him to move out of their house. The Swiss cheese plot doesn't make much sense and the actors don't help matters.

As much as I like SJP from her "Sex and the City" days, I found her to be flat and uninteresting and frankly, too old-looking for Matthew McConaghey.

The talents of Kathy Bates (Tripp's mother) are completely wasted. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Terry Bradshaw's (Tripp's father) rather befuddling nude scene as he was, ahem, cleaning out a fish tank. My eyes!

Zooey Deschanel as Paula's roommate Kit is the comic relief of this dim, jumbled movie. In one rather strange scene, she and her new boyfriend deliver CPR to a mockingbird. Not even her moody comments and antics could save this story though.

I love romantic comedies. And I genuinely like most of the past work of both SJP and Matthew McConaghey. But don't waste your time with this film. It's only worth watching if you're trapped on a long flight and have already read Sky Magazine cover to cover.
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Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker star in this romantic comedy about a thirty-something who still lives at home. McConaughey plays Tripp, a thirty-something boat salesman who still lives with his parents in Baltimore, Maryland (surprisingly, Baltimore looks a lot like some of the towns in Western California, palm trees and all). His parents, Al & Sue (played by Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates) love their son, but want him out of the house and in a place of his own. Desperate, his parents call in a specialist, Paula (played by Sarah Jessica Parker). Paula has made a job out of pretending to fall in love with men so that they will move out on their own. The only problem is that Tripp isn't like the typical man Paula has worked with before: he's tall, tan, dresses well, and earns good money. All of her other previous clients apparently were short, fat, fan-boy types who could barely hold down a part-time job. Paula ends up falling in love with Tripp. Tripp realizes this and tries to get her to break up with him before things get serious. Apparently Tripp likes women but is only interested in them long enough to get what he wants. Tripp ends up falling for Paula and the two end up in a collision course that seems to derail, but is really nothing more than a pit stop.

I was surprised and ended up enjoying FAILURE TO LAUNCH somewhat. Most of this was because of the supporting cast. Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates make a great couple and have some really funny lines. However, all of the other performers are completely upstaged by the performances of Zooey Deschanel as Paula's housemate, Kit, and Justin Bartha as Tripp's best friend, Ace. Ace originally appears as a kind of slacker fan-boy, kind of like the people that Paula normally help "launch" into their own lives. But, Ace really isn't like that. He ends up on a date with Kit as a bribe from Paula to keep quite about secrets he has unraveled. The two end up becoming a pair after Ace uses a Red Ryder BB gun (thanks A CHRISTMAS STORY) to shoot a mockingbird outside her bedroom window that has given her insomnia for several weeks. Deschanel and Bartha steal every scene they are in and their love story is more romantic than that of Tripp and Paula (not to mention how much better their acting is).

FAILURE TO LAUNCH is a movie than many women will enjoy watching. There are a few jokes that are aimed at guys, but the people who put this film together knew that the core audience of this film is women. Still, with that in mind, I find some of the film's messages a bit disconcerting. I realize that perception in the U.S. has changed dramatically recently, but there was a time in the U.S. when it was common, actually it was expected, that children would remain living at their family homes until they were married. The family was the core and both men and women remained at home to support their families until they had families of their own. Even after marriage, many families ended up living in the same homes and neighborhoods. That idea of life seems to be lost in postmodern suburbia super-sized America, but it's actually the norm in most other countries of the world. The movie also seems to say that unless you're a tall, thin, tan, handsome man, you really don't have much chance of ever being involved in a relationship (Ace looks more like an average Joe, but he's still too handsome). As for women, the message seems to be that the only guys worth being in a relationship with are men who don't exist. These messages provide a lot of laughs, but fail to launch the movie into a realm of meaning and purpose.
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VINE VOICEon March 15, 2006
Trip (McConaughey) is a 35 year old that still lives with Mom (Bates) and Dad (Bradshaw). They do everything for him, and they are his ticket out of serious relationships. One day, Mom and Dad hire Paula (Parker), an "interventionist" who specializes in getting kids out of their parents homes. Her plan: get Trip to fall in love with her which will make him want to break away from his parents. Of course, things do not go smoothly and Paula finds herself falling in love. When Trip's friends find out what she does for a living, things get even worse for Paula.

"Failure to Launch" is a so-so movie. Fans of the romantic comedy will probably like the film, but there is nothing special about it. There is little chemistry between McConaughey and Parker, and the side stories are a bit too silly. The film has an uneven feel to it, almost as if the B-story was added just to pad the running time. There are some genuine laughs, but they are too few and far bewteen. This is for fans of romantic comedies only.
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on December 9, 2006
A light and watchable romantic comedy as it should be. What's new is the parents' desire for the 35-year old son Tripp(Matthew Maconaughey)to leave home and be independent. And when he does, the parents can enjoy or dread their new found freedom.

What impresses me are the cameo appearances of a squirrel, a mocking bird, a lizard and lastly, the dolphins. The irony that those adorable sweet creatures can give one the shock in a lifetime is hillariously presented here. Zooey Deschanel as Kit is also a delightful and refreshing choice as a cool, slightly eccentric pal. They all make the otherwise formulaic romantic comedy interesting.

A happy ending with Tripp and Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) sailing on a wooden boat is truly to be envied.
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on March 31, 2014
Not a real "don't like it", but not quite a "it's ok". As always Sarah Jessica Parker was bad....and because she is one of the leads, that's a problem Even Matthew McConaughey couldn't save this/save her. He was good, the plot was cute, some of the supporting actors and actresses did their part well, but it didn't make it. We pretty much can count on a bad movie if Sarah Jessica Parker is in it, and so no matter how good the trailers look, don't believe it if she is going to be in it. I think this is the last time they will fool me with that. For now on if she is in it, unless it is another Sex and the City movie (and they are all getting pretty old for that), I won't be wasting my time or money on it.
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VINE VOICEon June 30, 2006
This is an entertaining movie. It's fairly funny and the cast works well together. I don't care all that much for Sarah Jessica Parker as a leading lady, but it doesn't work to the detriment of the film, in this case.

Matthew McConaughey does a really good job with his role as a thirty-something man who refuses to leave his parents' home. He has it made living there, but there is the obvious drawback: women are not impressed with his situation. Once he gets women back home, they are usually sent running. Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw are hilarious as his parents. They are definitely a bright point in the movie. Sarah Jessica Parker comes along to try and get Tripp (McConaughey) to finally move out of the house.

This is definitely not a movie that I would care to own, but it is quite a bit better than most romantic comedies.
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on June 27, 2014
This was a funny and pretty good film. Sadly, it aluminates another growing trait in our modern age thirty and up still living with their parents, though most of the real-life situations are for other reasons than our main character's motives. Matthew McConaughey was amusing as the thirty-five-year-old who used living with his parents to avoid committing to a relationship. As the therapist (I think that's her position) called in to fix this issue, Sarah Jessica Parker wasn't entirely bland, but she could have been a lot livelier. The comedy gold of the film came from the main characters parents, Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates. Bradshaw nicely portrayed a number of quirky habits throughout the film that can only leave you wondering what he's going to do next. I could never get enough of Kathy Bates and this film is no exception...put her in more scenes and just make up reasons for her being there. Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha did all right as the leading man's two best friends, but they lacked any sort of individual personalities...the movie could have accomplished the same thing with just one friend. Someone who did have personality was Zooey Deschanel, playing the free-spirited (that'd be an understatement) roommate of Sarah Jessica Parker's character. Overall, this film came together as a fairly decent problem. It's got its problems, but you can still watch it without constantly checking how much time's left until the credits. Enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon March 19, 2006
It's been a while since I've laughed this hard at a movie. Yes, it's a date movie, and even a borderline "chick-flick", not the type of movie I would normally pay to go see, but with Matthew McConaughey and Kathy Bates, I figured it might be worth it. Then throw in Terry Bradshaw, who is liked by virtually every football fan and whose willingness to poke fun at himself might bring some unexpected humor, I had to check it out. Boy, am I glad I did. As date movies and chick-flicks go, there wasn't much originality, but come on, how much originality does one really expect when watching a date movie/chick-flick?

The plot focuses on an ever-growing problem of a young man (35, hey, that's young to me) who fails to accept responsibility for himself. Rather than becoming a responsible adult, he chooses to continue to have his mother dutifully tend his every need; laundry, cleaning, meals, etc. The weary parents want him out of the house so they can enjoy their golden years in peace in quiet, so they hear about a young woman who, through her dating system, has been successful in encouraging young men such as this, to finally take the step into adulthood. The young woman is hired, the contract is signed and the artificial romance begins.

The movie is just plain funny. McConaughey is his usual charming and witty self, Bates, as expected, plays her part as doting mother magnificently, Bradshaw, who I expected to really just have a few cameo appearances, takes an active roll in the movie and plays his part well with, as I anticipated, some very unexpected humor. I'm no fan of Sarah Jessica Parker, but she played her part well. The big surprise for me was an actress I didn't know named Zooey Deschanel, who looks like a young Debra Winger and whose dry humor brought the biggest laughs.

I won't spoil anything with more details of the movie, but all-in-all, this was a pleasant surprise and very funny movie. A "chick-flick" that most guys will enjoy.
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on January 24, 2014
Failure to Launch is a great flick that could be family-friendly and even useful for social trends discussion. However, the unnecessary inclusion of "the naked room" was unexpected and I will, in the future, check a different site for specifics of a movie before I watch. Current social assumptions were apparent, but the female lead's statement that, "Once you have sex, they lose interest," is a lesson for every woman, even in this age.
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