Failure to Launch


Reviewed by: Kotleta

It should be all too easy to make a witty joke about the apt title, but this film turned my brain to candyfloss so please insert your own. Starring the charmless combination of Matthew McConaugheyyyy (Tripp) and SJP (Paula), this is an example of the chick flick at its most calculated and formulaic.

As a girl, (with long hair, violent mood swings and 50 pairs of shoes as proof) I would prefer that Hollywood stopped making films which quietly insult us with their special post-feminist brand of misogyny under the guise of entertainment. But there are days when everything goes wrong and the world seems a hostile place. On such days, Failure To Launch makes an adequate substitute for pills. It's mildly amusing, plods along quite nicely and puts life into perspective. You may be sick of being single, but at least you aren't dating McConaughey.

Hate your job? Could be worse. You could be pimping yourself out like Paula, paid to trick socially inept men with low self-esteem into falling in love so you can bully them into leaving the parental home, before breaking their hearts and moving on to the next mark. This might have been more successful as a rom-com if the script acknowledged the inherent cruelty of the premise, ignoring it just leads to a messy mishmash of tone later on.

Thirty-five-year-old Tripp isn't like Paula's other projects. He has friends, a good job, flash car, he's a bit leathery looking and far too old to carry off that bandana, but life is sweet. He has no motivation to move out and learn how a washing machine works. Selfish, complacent and lazy aren't sexy traits, so Tripp gets a tragic past to make him less repulsive. This feels like an afterthought, as does Paula's reason for embarking on such a twisted and stupid career in the first place. Zooey Deschanel, as Paula's engagingly surly flatmate Kit, lights up the screen with her undeniable superiority to the material. She needs a new agent.

This pretends to affectionately mock men who won't leave home, but does so from a purely chauvinistic perspective. Throwing in some slapstick and cutesie animals doesn't distract from the fact that the female characters exist only in relation to men. So as fluffy entertainment on a grey day this is fine, but remember that it contains evil and oppressive subliminal messages.

Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2006
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Failure to Launch packshot
A woman hired to con a man into leaving his parents' home, falls for him instead.
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Director: Tom Dey

Writer: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates, Tyrell Jackson Williams, Katheryn Winnick

Year: 2006

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: USA


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