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DVD Review: Tom Dey’s Failure to Launch on Paramount Home Entertainment

It didn’t fail at the box office, but there’s no reason you should help launch its DVD afterlife.


Failure to Launch

Tom Dey’s Failure to Launch is a not-so-distant cousin of those happy-go-lucky herpes commercials that play on television—it’s so far out it scans as science fiction. The filmmakers treat the idea of a town where every single thirtysomething male still lives with their parents as a matter of fact, further reducing the men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus formula: Because the main character’s job is to sell boats, his male customers “want to make wind” while their wives want to “feel the wind.” Speaking of speed, much sneakier is the pace of the picture, which moves so fast anyone with a subscription to Cosmopolitan might not have time to focus on how badly it all stinks. For everyone else, the whole thing registers as a manual on How to Lose Your Mind in 90 Minutes or Less. The script’s idea of raising the bar is having Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) tell Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) to get the fuck out of his car after learning she’s been hired by his parents to get him to move out of their house. With dipshits gasping in response and swooning to the I’m-really-falling-in-love-with-you music, will they notice how far the bar is subsequently lowered with the umpteenth random animal attack? Don’t worry if you haven’t kept count, one character—Justin Bartha as the cliché “troll” guy who’s really the cutest guy in sight—provides a recap: chipmunk, dolphin, and chuckwallah. Also making an appearance is an anesthetized dog, who groans when the lady at the pet clinic says her job is to cut off his nuts, and a mockingbird that drives Paula’s roommate—Zooey Deschanel as the cliché “eccentric” friend who’d probably get the shit kicked out of her by Janeane Garofalo in Reality Bites—so up the wall she wants to kill it. Get it? If not, that’s okay, a recap is also provided for those who never graduated from eighth-grade English or saw the movie Capote.


A bit messy here and there-one instance of ghosting, a few unattractive edges, and some noticeable edge enhancement when actors are against light backgrounds-but this is otherwise is a sharp and attractive transfer, with accurate skin tones and solid color reproduction. The sound mix is a bit front-loaded but swell nonetheless; there isn’t a lot of action in the film to test the track’s surround capabilities, but dialogue is clear and the music is adequately but not obtrusively booming.


The features on the disc are alternately shilly and creepy: “Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch” culls most of its footage from junket interviews with the film’s cast and crew; “The Failure to Launch Phenomenon” interviews with twixters and others who still live at home with their parents; “Dating in the New Millenium” plays like a shameless plug for companies like whose representatives get to speak to the camera; and Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw get to interview each other in a special recorded for Rounding out the disc is a collection of theatrical trailers.


It didn’t fail at the box office, but there’s no reason you should help launch its DVD afterlife.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates Director: Tom Dey Screenwriter: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment Running Time: 96 min Rating: PG-13 Year: 2006 Release Date: June 27, 2006 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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