Failure to Launch reminded me why I don’t watch these types of “chick flicks” more often, especially when my mom or sister happens to have one on (which was the case here). It is incredibly unromantic and unfunny, but not even in a fun or entertaining way. It’s just soulless, shamelessly derivative, and lazy (the fact that $50 million was thrown at it is just shameful, even if it did wind up making more than twice that).
The story (if you even want to call it that) is that Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) is a 35-year old man-child who still lives with his parents, and they’re getting sick of that. So they hire an expert, Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), to seduce him and boost his self-esteem, which should finally make him move out once and for all. Of course, she genuinely falls in love with him, and so does he, and blah blah blah.
As stupid and formulaic as this premise may be, in the right hands, it admittedly could have made for a few decent laughs. Unfortunately, since it wound up in the hands of Tom Dey, who later directed the abysmal Marmaduke, we don’t even get that. McConaughey is thoroughly miscast, Parker fumbles through her role, and the two have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.
Zooey Deschanel is a supporting character, and I liked her so much in (500) Days of Summer (a genuinely great romantic comedy I recommend you all go watch now), but even she’s completely wasted here. Watching her in a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation scene involving an unconscious bird, which then bites her character’s boyfriend on the nose for whatever reason, I just felt bad.
Speaking of that, people are bitten or attacked by animals several times in Failure, none of which have anything to do with the core plot. But hey, it’s goofy enough to help sell the movie, so why the heck not? Why write anything but the most standard of Hollywood relationship clichés for Tripp and Paula, just so long as they look pretty together? Why put any sort of effort into the movie whatsoever, just so long as it makes money?
This film is so empty and worthless, in fact, that I was even hesitating on spending my precious free time writing a review of it. At least the title is self-aware, albeit incorrect: Failure to Launch doesn’t even attempt takeoff in the first place.