FAILURE TO LAUNCH
Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) is 35 and can see no reason to leave home, especially as his mother, Sue (Kathy Bates), panders to his every whim. He is oblivious to the fact that both she and his father Al (Terry Bradshaw) are counting the minutes until they have the place to themselves. So they hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) who specializes in making grown men leave home to make a life for themselves. Tripp has never had problems finding girls to date. On the contrary. But commitment is another story, a fact his pals Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper) know only too well. When Paula meets Tripp, her cynical flatmate Kit (Zooey Deschanel) notices a change in Paula's routine, and Tripp, who sells boats for a living, finds himself in unchartered waters.
Review by Louise Keller:
With its snappy script and zappy premise, Failure to Launch may be formulaic, but it has all the spark of an uplifting, comedic battle of the sexes. A smartly funny variation on the theme of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (but targeted at a more discerning audience), the film is witty, funny and the cast hand-picked. The story works on various levels and the temperature rises and falls as the characters become manipulators, or are themselves manipulated.
The central premise of a 35 year old still living at home and thriving on being pampered by his mother ('It's going to take a stick of dynamite to get me out of my parents' home') offers many opportunities for truthful observation and wry humour, and it's well done. Matthew McConaughey, is amusing as the bachelor with so much confidence, even dolphins, chipmunks and lizards bite him in order to take him down a peg or two. With her natural comedic timing, Sarah Jessica Parker is sassy and sexy as the 'professional interventionist' who loses confidence in her sure-fire technique, when the tables are turned and control turns to chaos. She might think her methods are fool-proof, but she feels like a fool, when Tripp trips her up and takes her home to meet the parents. Especially when she doesn't realise that this means she is about to be dumped!
There's an endearing sub plot involving Zooey Deschanel's po-faced roommate Kit whose fanatic obsession to get rid of a noisy mocking bird loitering outside her widow, makes for a hilarious outcome. There's a trip to a gun shop, an unexpected romantic interlude and mouth to mouth resuscitation. Perhaps the most poignant of relationships comes from Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw's desperate parents, who look enviously at couples who have rekindled their relationships after their kids have finally left home. Even though, much of the film is played for laughs, the moment between Bates' Sue and her son is a moving and special one.
This is a satisfying romantic comedy filled with laughs, delicious situations and delectable characters.
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FAILURE TO LAUNCH (M)
CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Kathy Bates, Terry Bradshaw, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper
PRODUCER: Scott Rudin
DIRECTOR: Tom Dey
SCRIPT: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Claudio Miranda
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeremy Conway
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 13, 2006