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"Failure to Launch"

Directed by Tom Dey.
Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember.
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Bates, and Terry Bradshaw.

Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  3/22/06

Folks--

Through it all, I kept waiting for "Failure to Launch" to really start sucking, but I still can't believe it--this horseshit wasn't half bad!

The premise certainly got me laughing and in fits and starts, this romantic comedy never really tanked.  Matthew McConaughey--no, I really don't like him either, but in the "one-trick pony" category, nobody does hammy in these kinds of films better--stars as Tripp, a 35-year-old yacht salesman that is STILL living at home with his parents (Kathy Bates and the surprisingly funny Terry Bradshaw).  Being a good-looking guy that is absolutely frightened of commitment, Tripp usually hangs out with a woman a few times, beds her, and then when things start to get too commitment-like, he brings the girl home to hang out at his place...where each woman finds out the hard way that Tripp is still living with his family.  Sick of trying to kick Tripp out of their house, the parents hire a transition specialist named Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) who specializes in dating men, making them fall for her, and making them move out of their parents' homes in order to make these men learn to live as adults in the real world.

Just the idea that Tripp and his two best friends (played by former "Alias" co-star Bradley Cooper and "National Treasure" co-star Justin Bartha) are all 30-somethings that still live at home--and love to brag about it, they love it so much--was really funny to me, bringing back memories of why I loved that old FOX comedy "Get a Life", which featured Chris Elliott as a 30-year-old paperboy still living at home.  Some folks just never can get over the creature comforts of having hot meals served all the time, laundry and other chores taken care of by Mom or always having someone around to take care of you when you are sick.  The script by Tom Astle and Matt Ember has some good laughs based around the guys' lifestyle and banter, which made the whole production more palatable for me.

Of course, the core of the movie is watching Tripp fall for Paula, while we know all along that she is only doing this because she's being paid to do it...but of course, she slowly falls for Tripp because that's how this horseshit always goes.  The chemistry between the two isn't well played but the film is smart to balance the lead romance with many scenes featuring Tripp and the guys as well as Paula and her roommate Kit (Zooey Deschanel) and Tripp hangin' at his place with his parents and his nephew (Tyrell Jackson Williams).  The balance of all of this and some oddball humor featuring a random collection of small reptiles worked for some reason, and the time just flew right by.

Like I mentioned, the chemistry between our two leads was not strong enough for me to believe that this thing was headed to the altar, and I am generally annoyed by watching Parker work in anything; sadly (not for me, but for some people), I have never been struck by a Parker performance.  Otherwise, "Failure to Launch" was not too bad of a film, doing the job at a reasonable price that kept me mildly entertained for 90 minutes.  Trust me, you can and will do worse at other romantic comedies this year, so soak this one in so you can skip out on some other flicks in this genre when summer arrives.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09