Sarah Jessica Parker
Every once in a while, there comes a rom-com which manages tobuck the trend of mediocrity usually attached to the genre. There are filmssuch as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle andFour Weddings and a Funeral which all transcended their expectationsand were critically acclaimed for being both romantic and funny.
Failure To Launch is not one of those movies.
Trip (Matthew McConaughey) is a perfect ladies’ man. Attractive, smoothand charming his routine is near flawless. That is until he takes the girlhome for the night. Home to his parents. Trip hasn’t been able to leave hisfamily home yet and his parents are starting to tire of his constantpresence. In comes Paula, an ‘interventionist’, hired by Trip’s parents tohelp show Trip that life can be better on the other side. But, and you’llnever guess this, she starts to harbour true feelings for her client.Yawn.
It appears on paper that Failure To Launch would prove an inoffensivelittle time-waster and for the first 10 or maybe even 15 minutes – the charm of the two lead stars make it somewhat bearable. But this goodwill soon falters.It’s actually quite incredible how the filmmakers couldturn such a light, fluffy premise into something so completely hate-worthy.
The premise as it stands is deeply flawed. What kind of job is aninterventionist? In what warped world would such a stupid job exist? And whydoes no one in the film seem at all surprised that such a job does exist?The interventionist is played by the usually likeable Sarah Jessica Parker.One would think that with all of her experience in the genre, she wouldavoid drivel like this as she would the plague. This is the kind ofmovie her and her Sex and the City counterparts would ridicule.
Matthew McConaughey, once seen as a contender for the top, is againslumming it in a depressingly smug manner. Together, they make for anattractive yet bland couple who share absolutely no chemistry, somethingwhich proves a major problem. The filmmakers seem to lose interest with themain romance (much like the audience) half-way through and then scatter invariously inane subplots concerning their sidelined friends. ZooeyDeschanel, so brilliant in films such as The Good Girl andElf, replays her typical quirky, sardonic routine but tailored tothe blockbuster crowd, meaning all of the humour and logic is taken awayfrom her behaviour. Her main arc involves whether or not she can kill abird.
The film also relies on stupefying slapstick comedy. Much of the ‘humour’is derived from bizarre, incongruous scenes where McConaughey gets bitten byvarious animals. No, I don’t get the relevance either. The dialogue is fullof so many clunkers, it almost becomes unintentionally funny. That is if itwasn’t so mind-numbingly dull. My ‘favourite’ line has to be “You smellof…….fun!”. I’d recommend bringing a sick bag to make the script that littlebit more bearable.
The climax is ridiculously familiar.If one more person quits their job and travels to a faraway place, justbecause their love life has suddenly failed, I am going to slit my wrists.Don’t be fooled by the seemingly light, likeable quality that a film likethis has. It’s a deviously bad film, one of the worst that I can remember.It makes How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days look like The ShawshankRedemption. And the title? They’re asking for trouble there. Too. Many.Puns.