Failure to Launch

All romantic comedies have essentially the same plot. In order to make them distinguishable, filmmakers often throw in wildly unbelievable premises, or weird supporting characters. Failure to Launch (oh, what an ironic title) is the perfect example of this. This is a cookie cutter plot. Boy and girl meet, and fall for each other. Something comes in the way, and the two break it off, before something else comes in the way and everything ends up hunky-dory. The catch here is the a director Tom Dey (Showtime, Shanghai Noon) and screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember focus so much on the lame premise and supporting characters that they plot and main characters are boring.

The supporting characters include Al (Terry Bradshaw, Robots, The Cannonball Run) and Sue (Kathy Bates, Rumor Has It..., Little Black Book), parents of Tripp (Matthew McCounaghey, Two for the Money, Sahara), a thirty-something slacker who still lives at home. Bradshaw and Bates are amusing, and provide some of the films only chuckles. The rest go to Zooey Deschanel (Winter Passing, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and Justin Bartha (National Treasure, Gigli). Deschanel plays the same character she does in nearly every other film, but it works. As Kit, she is blunt, and adds in some wild mood swings to make her actions highly unpredictable. Bartha is Ace, one of Tripp's friends who happens to be a computer genius. This figures into the somewhat amusing but over-played final sequence of the film. Astle and Ember stretch when they add rabid animals into the script. They are sitcom writers, and many of the gags here feel like a laugh track should accompany them, letting audiences know that something was supposed to be funny.

Oh, and the plot? Sue and Al want Tripp out of their house. They hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker, The Family Stone, State and Main) to get the job done for them. Paula is a consultant who specializes in getting adult men out of their parents' houses. They simulates a relationship with them, builds their self-esteem, and soon they move out, none the wiser. It's a very stupid idea for a romantic comedy, and upon further reflection, still doesn't make much sense, which again, is why there is so much extraneous stuff happening. Tripp and Paula are uninteresting and sometimes downright boring when compared to some of the other people, and also act nothing like real people. Dey throws a curve late in the film explaining why Tripp is at home in the first place, which makes Failure to Launch feel even more contrived.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity, and language.

Back to Movies