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FAILURE TO LAUNCH
U.S. Release Date: March 10, 2006
Distributor: Paramount
Director: Tom Dey
Producer: Scott Aversano, Scott Rudin
Composer: Rolfe Kent
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha
Running Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sexual content, partial nudity and language)

More Stupid Pet Tricks
by Scott Holleran

Matthew McConaughey showboats with Sarah Jessica Parker in Failure to Launch. The inane comedy wastes a mostly talented cast, throws in lousy gags and subjugates its strongest appeal—the late bloomer premise of adults still living with their parents.

Toothy McConaughey and shapely Parker—neither of whom have been known to carry a picture—play out every deception-based comic cliché since the overdone genre took hold. Theirs is the story of a thirtysomething dude (McConaughey) and a professional deceiver (Parker) hired by his parents (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) to manipulate him into moving out of the house. She begins by bonding with him in a furniture store.

Making fun of an adult child shacking up with mom and dad might have been good for a few laughs. Director Tom Dey—a wham-bam comedy guy (Shanghai Noon) working with a pair of sitcom writers—opts for sight gags instead. Except for a brief set-up with Miss Bates (who already did this role in P.J. Hogan's delightful Unconditional Love) folding her son's laundry, arrested development humor is underused.

In its place are animal jokes ala Caddyshack and some of the worst supporting characters ever conceived—it's a pity to see National Treasure's snappy Justin Bartha used as human toilet paper by a Goth-chick nihilist (Zooey Deschanel)—and painfully long shots of ex-Super Bowl Steelers' quarterback Terry Bradshaw as pops in the raw.

This movie's been done over and over and the drill has not changed in the five minutes since someone else made a picture like this: the female deceives the male for some higher purpose, falls for him—and he for her—until the jig is up and it all comes together again. Failure to Launch adds a trio of paint-balling, rock-climbing twits, Bradshaw's flabby rear-end and a toothless black child for sentimental reasons. The Philadelphia Story this isn't.

It isn't even Dumb and Dumber, in which at least dumb was half the point. The older leading actors look silly gallivanting around like Evel Knievel and, except for the dim, clueless parents—who would have ditched the overgrown moocher long ago—everyone lies, steals, blackmails and falls into a series of disjointed jokes. The writers attempt a running gag, with McConaughey bitten by dolphins and chipmunks and lizards, and that, too, is as flat as month-old soda.

However, it's played through to the end of what amounts to another piece of jokey Hollywood junk.


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