Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big meet again . well almost. Director Tom Dey would like to believe that hilarity ensues in the boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl comedy “Failure to Launch,” but that’s not always the case.
In Paramount Pictures newest film “Failure to Launch,” Trip (Matthew McConaughey), is a handsome, successful, commitment-phobic playboy who is still living in the home of his aging parents (expertly played by Kathy Bates and football great Terry Bradshaw).
In an attempt to get him move out, they hire a professional relationship consultant, Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is an expert at convincing sadly dependent men to move out of their parents’ homes. Adding to the mix are Paula’s friend Kit (Zooey Deschanel, “Elf”) and Trip’s friends Ace (Justin Bartha, “National Treasure”) and Demo (Bradley Cooper, “Wedding Crashers”).
Both Parker and McConaughey have made successful careers playing the same characters. Parker is an ace at her portrayal of that famous neurotic, relationship-challenged New York columnist, while he tends to play well-muscled, well-meaning commitment phobics. In this film, it is no different – both actors stick with what they know in a very safe movie.
It is the supporting cast that really carries this movie, providing it with much-needed depth and comedic relief. Pittsburgh Steelers fans will be familiar with Terry Bradshaw’s work on the football field, but his acting is winning as well, and he is a pro at keeping up with the comedic timing of Oscar winner Bates. The actors portraying McConaughey’s and Parker’s much younger, wacky friends must be recognized, particularly Deschanel and Bartha. The onscreen romance between their characters quickly becomes more humorous and likeable than that between the two leads. It is the strength of the supporting cast that saves this movie from falling into the sea of unsuccessful, unremarkable romantic comedies.
“Failure to Launch” is a studio movie that fails to do anything other than stick to the rules. It is a romantic comedy that follows the same tried and true format. It is, however, a light-hearted alternative to the much heavier Oscar fare currently playing in theaters. Looking for a date movie this weekend? Look no further.
“Failure to Launch” will be in theaters nationwide Friday, March 10.
This article appeared in the March 9, 2006 issue of the Hatchet.