review for Failure to Launch on AllMovie

Failure to Launch (2006)
by Perry Seibert review

Tom Dey's insipid, inept romantic comedy Failure to Launch seems to have a really funny premise, until a third act "surprise" reveals something that renders everything in the film pointless, and should make any paying customer scream for their money back. As the movie opens, Matthew McConaughey's character Tripp is a charming seducer who never gets emotionally involved with his conquests, sabotaging the relationship by revealing that he lives with his parents. His parents (Kathy Bates -- an actress who should know better -- and Terry Bradshaw) want him out, and hire a woman (Sarah Jessica Parker) who specializes in "treating" this type of immature men by faking a relationship with them long enough to build their self-esteem. This silly premise should be enough to carry a movie, especially when the woman begins to really fall for the guy, but screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember lose their nerve in the third act, providing a rationale for Tripp's behavior that is far more serious than the film has led the viewer to believe. Because of his past, his parents' behavior no longer seems wacky, it seems cruel if not psychologically damaging. The actual emotional stakes for the character are much greater than the light-hearted tone can possibly support, sending the already creaky movie crashing into the ground. As if this isn't bad enough, the scenes as they are don't work. Terry Bradshaw naked, the least realistic animatronic bird in movie history, and the obvious lack of chemistry between the two leads are just three of the numerous blockades to this film ever working on any level. The only thing positive to be said is that Failure to Launch is one of those special films where the title is also an apt review.