Monday, 21 September 2020
Failure to Launch
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 12 March 2006 20:55

Failure to Launch Crashes and Burns

Failure to Launch addresses one of the common problems facing the Baby Boomer generation. Many of their babies don’t want to leave home! Is it because we are a generation of slackers who want to live the high life without paying the consequences? Nah! Would we leave if our mothers stopped cooking with cheese like in the commercial? Hmmm… maybe. But it is more likely that those who still live under the shelter of a paternal roof won’t leave for one reason and one reason only. They have it too good!

Enter Tripp (Matthew McConaughey), a 35 year-old bachelor who’s got it all. Good friends, good looks, nice car, plenty of action, and a mommy that cooks him breakfast every morning and does his laundry. When a girl starts getting serious (i.e. when wedding bells start to ring) he takes them to “his house” and lets them discover that he still lives with his parents. All of this seems to be working very well for Tripp, but not so well for his parents (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) who want nothing more than to experience Empty Nest Syndrome. They decide to take matters into their own hands and hire a lovely young woman to date their son and get him to finally leave home.

Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) has managed to find enough desperate parents to make a living off of, and she accepts the case assuming it will be like all the others. Of course it isn’t. Her three-step plan is “Find out what they like”, “Share a sad experience”, and “Let them teach you something”. Each one only leads her to like him more and by the time he takes her paintballing she is hooked.

The story has all sorts of potential to pull off being a great situational comedy. Unfortunately the movie relies way too heavily on a totally unrelated storyline that feels like another movie. In Movie #2 Tripp is an athletic nature lover who gets bitten by a chipmunk, a dolphin and a lizard. The fact that these incidents don’t make any sense is thinly veiled by the idea that nature is rebelling against Tripp because of his lifestyle. Of course when all is well he is able to frolic with the dolphins (Right, and I fly over the rainbow on a winged unicorn).

In Movie #3 Zooey Deschanel plays Kit, Paula’s lackluster roommate who is also plagued by animal troubles involving a mockingbird and a bb gun. The mockingbird is also a biter, but you can’t really blame it. Deschanel once again plays a role that requires little to no facial expression. She is a study in wide-eyed blank stares and monotone line delivery. Can she really act, or is she just a pretty face? I liked her in Elf and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so I will give her one more chance.

Sarah Jessica Parker is the most enjoyable thing in this movie and I think she has a very promising film career now that Sex and the City is over. She proved her great comedic potential in The Family Stone and I would recommend that film over this one any day.

Failure to Launch is a forgettable movie that serves to pass the time but never really gets off the ground so to speak. In my title I said it “crashes and burns”, but really it is nothing so glorious and dramatic. More like “pops and fizzles”.

All you Gen-Xers still living at home, take heart - one day you too will be bitten by the chipmunk of independence.

I give Failure to Launch 4 out of 10 stars.