Failure to Launch

FailureToLaunchIt’s easy to imagine that a guy like Matthew McConaughey could live an adventurous, care-free lifestyle without any household responsibilities. It’s easy to imagine that a smart, attractive girl like Sara Jessica Parker could get a guy to do just about anything…like move out of his parents’ house. This combination mixes into a romantic comedy that unfortunately yields a disappointing experience with few laughs and plenty of modern social reflection.

McConaughey stars as Trip, a 30-year old bachelor, who has an ideal, stress-free life, but won’t make the leap to an independent life. This shortcoming always centers on romances with women who eventually disinterest him when things get too serious. There’s a reason for Trip’s insecurity, but it’s unfortunately treated as a glossy subplot, which lacks any relevant, emotional impact. A flashback or at least a visual picture would’ve helped.

Until Paula, played by Parker, came into his life, Trip made little effort to earn a woman’s love. Suddenly, she brings him the hope, but some well meaning deception and the original pretext of their love connection threaten to spoil the happy ending. McConaughey and Parker have an average chemistry as they try to find their true path in life as individuals and, eventually, as a couple.

Terry Bradshaw and a miscast Kathy Bates (Fried Green Tomatoes) play Trip’s parents. Both underdeveloped parents are very likeable and compliment each other well. Bradshaw plays an uninhibited, eccentric while Bates clues you into the key underlying subplot about Trip’s past. Filmmakers cast these four main lead characters for their famous personas and previous work, which undermines any emotional build up and consequential outcome.

Trip and Paula remain sincere, honest and, most importantly, likeable, but the 97 minute plot fails them with an uneven flow, weak scene transitions and a formulaic ending that tries to enhance itself through ‘TV reality’ media. The flat comedy includes an odd animal theme with a minimum payoff at the end. A sequence in a gun shop represents one of the few truly funny moments.

Familiar stars Zooey Deschanel (Elf), Justin Bartha (National Treasure) and Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers) fill the required supportive friend roles. The stars are appealing and they engage in a lot of fun outdoor/sport activities, which embodies a superficial reality – nice looking shell on the outside, but emptiness on the inside. Sure, the movie will be popular at the box office and create a lot of interesting conversation, but

Directed by Tom Dey (Showtime, Shanghai Noon), this movie was filmed in Maryland, Alabama, Delaware and New Orleans. Not recommended (*) and rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

This entry was posted in 2000s Film Reviews, Film Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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