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Review: Failure to Launch

Failure to Launch is a not-so-distant cousin of those happy-go-lucky herpes commercials that play on television.

Failure to Launch
Photo: Paramount Pictures

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.

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 Pictures Running Time: 96 min Rating: PG-13 Year: 2006 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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