Published Mar 01, 2006God only knows how many studio execs and creative hands will lose their jobs over allowing the title of this film to stick, but if the prophesy holds true, Failure to Launch will live up to its name when it comes to counting the box office receipts.
Doomed to forever live a life of ridicule and mockery on the rental store shelves, this rom-com starring Matthew McConaughey, the "sexiest man alive," and everyone's favourite TV sex/relationship columnist, Sarah Jessica Parker, on paper seems like it has the potential to slip through the cracks as a likeable piece of fluff. But, oddly enough, it's the unorthodox chances, which most of these films are too scared to take, not the conventional approaches that subdue its promise.
In fact, Dey's film even has a relatively smart plot but somehow he manages to mess up what seems like an easy job. McConaughey plays Trip, a 35-year-old boat broker who still comfortably and proudly lives with his parents (Kathy Bates and a disappointing but sometimes very nude Terry Bradshaw). In a bid to get him to leave their nest, Trip's parents hire Paula (Parker), a professional dater (but, apparently, not a hooker) who specialises in seducing then freeing adult men from their parents' abode, and of course, she falls for Trip in the process and romance ensues.
McConaughey has the personality and charm to pull off his role, but there's little chemistry between him and Parker, who together come off looking as if they're way too old for such a quirky story and fail to create the spark that makes us want them to actually survive as a couple. The fact that their friends appear to be a good decade younger doesn't help our aging romantic couple's chances of winning over the viewer either.
An even bigger problem is the balance in the styles of film it attempts to employ. Dey is confused with what kind of movie he wants to make, sullying a story about love and growth (sigh ) with a series of harebrained sequences involving Trip being attacked by a variety of creatures (dolphin, chipmunk and vegetarian lizard), as well as a farcical scene where a man gives CPR to a dying mockingbird.
With wasteful but noble supporting efforts from the lovable Zooey Deschanel and The Daily Show's Rob Corddry (who wisely chose to be uncredited), Failure to Launch is a big, ugly mess of a date flick that will certainly live and die by its appropriate title. (Paramount)