Failure to Launch

Bomb Rating: 

This is basically a feel-good romantic comedy laced with a lot of abject cruelty masquerading as humor. What's next for Sarah Jessica Parker, a movie in which she tosses puppies onto the highway? Here, her character Paula pretends to fall for guys who still live with their parents so that they will move out. Apparently, going on a couple of dates with Sarah Jessica Parker is supposed to give them enough self-esteem to realize there's more out there. Does anyone else out there know what happens to geeky, self-loathing, ugly guys when women like Sarah Jessica Parker feign affection for them and then reveal that it's all a big joke? That's right: They do things like dip their genitals in hot cooking oil, run for public office and, oh yeah, move back in with their parents.

The audience is supposed to believe that Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) still lives with his folks. Perhaps the filmmakers were afraid to really ramp up the humor by having Tripp played by George Clooney or Fabio or Hugh Hefner. Furthermore, we're supposed to believe that Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw had sex and had a child that grew up to be Matthew McConaughey. I don't see it. Intercourse between Bates and Bradshaw would be far more likely to produce offspring that looked like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew from "The Muppet Show."

Call me crazy, but I have a wacky theory that directors gain little by treating their audiences like two-year-olds. Paula says at some point that when males don't move out of their parents' houses it's called "failure to launch." This explanation is provided just in case some audience members don't understand the title, how it relates to the movie, or how the huge flat people got trapped in the magic talky screen at the front of the theater.

There's also this very strange thing that happens with animals in the film. Basically, Tripp gets bitten by a dolphin, a vegetarian lizard and a chipmunk. This is what's called a motif or a theme. If you had to actually think about why Tripp was constantly getting bitten, you might conclude that he was acting in a way that animals found objectionable and extend that to the world as a whole. Fortunately, though, you don't have to think for yourself because the filmmakers make sure that Tripp's friend, Demo (Bradley Cooper) explains the motif to anyone dumb enough to buy a ticket. What the filmmakers don't seem to understand is that not only does this negate any possibility of subtlety, but it effectively diminishes the humor by a factor directly proportional to the degree of idiotic explanation.

I could explain why "Failure to Launch" is going to end up being an ironic title, but I won't.

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