No matter how much you rationalize it, in this society, living with your parents just isn’t much of a turn on to a woman, especially in the world of double standards. A woman living with her parents is cute and sweet, a man living with his parents is pathetic and he’s a loser. Regardless though, “Failure to Launch” which is a metaphor for Tripp’s—failure to launch from his home is a film that normally someone like Adam Sandler would star in, but for some reason Matthew McConaughey decided to star and show that he’s still not funny. Had someone like Sandler, or Ryan Reynolds starred in “Failure to Launch”, I wouldn’t have had so much trouble putting logic on hold, but for the writers to force us to believe that these pretty people can’t go in to the real world, it just further clarified to me that this was indeed fiction, and far from reality.
As bland as corn flakes, and as unfunny as Billy Crystal, “Failure to Launch” tells the tale of Tripp, a truly obnoxious man whose girlfriends bail once they discover he lives with his parents. Yet, he’s still confused as to why, even when flashing a smug half smile upon the revelation. Tripp’s parents want him to move out so badly (shocker) that they hire Paula to romance him and get him out. Tripp’s parents complain about him, yet refuse to respect his boundaries walking right in to his room upon mid-sexual rendezvous. McConaughey continues his “good ol’ boy” (long Southern drawl and all) shtick as the annoying unlikable Tripp who is never afraid to order his parents around and take advantage, while Parker continues her Carrie Bradshaw niche as the Hitch-esque Paula. How she learned how to play men, why she does it, and why she’s thrown for a loop upon Tripp’s affection for her we’re never sure of, but she’s a plot device, and that’s all that matters to the writers.
Upon the film’s progression, the screenwriters can never stick to their own stories and on comes a number of inconsistencies. Does McConaughey’s character work, or is he a moocher? I could never find out. Apparently the writers couldn’t either. Of course, soon within their fake tryst, Paula begins falling for Tripp because “he’s different”. But, why? Here’s where logic defies hackery. This is a woman who is supposed to be hired to romance a man, get him out of his home, and dump him—no feelings. How can she expect him to give her a fulfilling relationship if he can’t go out in the real world and grow up? It makes no sense. But we’re supposed to like these people because they’re in a movie. But the writers never give us a good argument for liking them. These people are unlikable, despicable, and I hated them. I seriously hated them.
But just to ease the hate, the writers enlist the help of two best friends (Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha) for Tripp, to hopefully bring in comedic slack. It doesn’t work. And the remainder of the laughless comedy is reliant on “American Pie” gags that the writers expect us to find funny. Look, middle aged people talking about sex candidly! How funny is that?! It’s funny because they’re old! Okay, then. Tripp battles a psychotic chipmunk, and a psychotic dolphin; original. Tripp shoots a piece of raw fish in to a snooty woman’s face in a restaurant. Laughing, yet? Yes, me neither. The essential question is: what’s more confusing? The writers asking us to believe that McConaughey can’t get anywhere in life, that his parents will not kick him out, that Parker—who’d normally approach him as a gig—begins falling for him, or that Zoey Decshanel in all her odd appeal would have trouble finding a man?
One consolation though is that Deschanel’s sub-plot is possibly the most enjoyable aspect of this film, and that’s not saying much. Her battle with a mockingbird comes off surprisingly funny, mainly because Deschanel can achieve the comedy that her co-stars can not. Her funny sub-plot further expresses how little sense the writers have, because her situation has nothing to do with the actual film aside from the writer’s insistence that crazy animals are comedy gold, but they feel inclined to show us anyway as padding for the short run time. “Failure to Launch” is yet another unfunny, time-wasting, bland romantic comedy that is just a cookie cutter film intent on taking our money, no questions asked, and it seems to have worked.
Oh, and Kathy Bates? You’re much too talented to be drowned in the mediocre comedy world.