Thursday, August 9, 2012

Failure to Launch (2006) [PG-13] ***

After having fallen for someone who later dumped her rather than launch his own life, Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) embarks on a career as a professional relationship interventionist. The process goes like this: first Paula is hired by parents who are trying to move their son out of the family home. Then, she flirts with the son, and bonds with him by going on dates, by sharing an emotional trauma like saying goodbye to a dying pet, by meeting his friends at an amusement like a co-ed team sport, and by letting him teach her a new skill or sport. And, finally, after he falls for her, proposes to her, moves out and gets his own place, she ends the relationship.

Recommended by a neighbor couple, Paula is hired by Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates) to intervene with their son Tripp (Matthew McConaughey), a 35-year-old boat broker (boat, launch... get it?). However, something unexpected happens: Paula falls for Tripp. Failure to Launch is a film about relationships that asks us to consider several questions: (1) Can a relationship begun under false pretenses ever be reinvented as a completely honest and open one, in which both partners trust each other? (2) Will Paula's roommate, Kit (Zooey Deschanel), always initiate mad, passionate sex with Tripp's buddy Ace (Justin Bartha) by slapping him? (3) Will the handsome but self-absorbed Matthew McConaughey finally star in a movie in which he's more interested in his female lead than in himself? (4) Does Terry Bradshaw ever regret doing the scene in which he's feeding his aquarium fish while standing bare-bottomed in his naked room?

There are several cute scenes in this romantic comedy, and the final reality TV scene in which Tripp and Paula restart their relationship is unique and well written. This romantic comedy will be most thoroughly appreciated by fans of McConaughey, Parker and Deschanel. The DVD contains several extras and my favorite was the unscripted segment featuring Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw interviewing each other. I especially enjoyed the moment when Matthew quoted Terry's remark after they had wrapped the film: Let me tell you something. I've got four Super Bowl rings, you know. And there's awards, and there's Oscars and things out there. But fifty years from now, who remembers any of those things? The thing that you'll be remembered for, the thing in life people will remember you for, is how you treat other people. 

Labels: comedy, romance     
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 47/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=46, viewers=62)     

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