Directed by: Tom Dey
Written by:Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Kathy Bates, Terry Bradshaw, Justin Bartha
Released: April 13, 2006
Grade: B-

Al (Bradshaw) and Sue (Bates) want their son Tripp (McConaughey) out of the house.  He’s lived at home for over thirty years and they think it’s about time he found a place of his own.  Personally, I don’t know why they don’t just ask him to leave or simply kick him out?  Instead, they hire an interventionist named Paula (Parker) to persuade him.  She can’t have been cheap!

Paula’s plan is to simulate a relationship with Tripp.  This will give him self-confidence and will hopefully create a desire to move out and become more independent.  Paula admits that she has been successful with this technique many times before so I’d like to ask, what happened to the other guys?  Did she go out with them, lead them along, get them to move out, and then dump them for some made-up reason?  It’s awfully strange if you ask me.

Anyway, Tripp is going to prove a lot more challenging than Paula thought.  Firstly, he has a fear of commitment.  The idea of steady girlfriend (as opposed to a series of one night stands) is something he isn’t interested in.  Secondly and most importantly, Paula starts falling for Tripp and as the rule goes, you should never mix business and pleasure.

As you pay have picked up from my cynicism, there are a hundred things wrong with this premise.  If you stand back and look at the story from a distance, it doesn’t make much sense.  It is all structured around the predictable “boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl” formula.  Lovers of romantic comedies with disagree with my misgivings but I don’t care.  Surely they could have written a more believable tale?

The casting of Matthew McConaughey reminded me of his turn in the 2003 romantic comedy, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.  I was critical of that film too but I had many friends who disagreed and enjoyed the silliness of the story.

Failure To Launch isn’t as bad and I believe it’s due to the casting of Sarah Jessica Parker.  She’s good along McConaughey but she’s even better alongside Zooey Deschanel, who plays her sarcastic roommate in the movie.  This is the second time I’ve praised Parker this year (after The Family Stone) and it’s reaffirming my belief that she’s one of the best actresses of the moment.

I’ve seen worse but I’ve also seen many which are much better.