Failure to Launch


Sarah Jessica Parker as Paula

Matthew McConaughey as Trip

Zooey Deschanel as Kit

Justin Bartha as Ace

Bradley Cooper as Demo

Kathy Bates as Sue

Terry Bradshaw as Al


Trip (Matthew McConaughey) and his friends Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper) are the newest breed of modern men: adults who have chosen to continue living with their parents long after the time has come for them to leave. To combat this trend requires a new breed of woman – Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), a professional dedicated to making unsuspecting men want to leave home. But when Trip’s parents (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) bring her in to work her magic she finds herself facing her toughest case ever, and getting close to client the way she swore she would never do.

“Failure to Launch” is trifle – fluffy but unfortunately only occasionally funny. McConaughey displays the easy charm and screen presence that made him a movie star and Parker is serviceable enough. Perhaps the biggest problem with either of the leads is that the supporting actors are almost universally more entertaining than either of them. Deschanel as Paula’s roommate Kit is extremely dry, and though not particularly original, her scenes are still entertaining. Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw as Trip’s parents bring a naturalistic charm to the film, and are responsible for the film’s warmest scenes.

And it’s good that it is warm, because it’s not funny. It is occasionally witty, but not very often. It seems the filmmakers realized that as well as they fill the frequent dry spells with physical comedy that doesn’t really fit the tone of the movie, particularly the dry coolness Trip exudes. There is a running gag about animals attacking or in some way terrorizing the various characters that is slightly funny at first, but gets less so as the film goes on and despite a great attempt by the writers, never really fits.

There’s nothing new here, and not much that’s funny, but it’s fluffy enough to make for a decent date film.

“Failure to Launch” is rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and language.