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Failure to Launch (PG-13)

Release Date: March 10th, 2006 by Paramount Pictures.
The Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates.
Directed by Tom Dey.

BASIC PREMISE: Past the age of 30, Tripp (McConaughey) hasn’t left his parents’ house, so they hire Paula (Parker) to seduce him out.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Failure to Launch succeeds as a charming comedy thanks to its talented, likeable cast. Those who like Matthew McConaughey will be pleased to know that he looks great in every scene, even when he sweats. Sarah Jessica Parker is just as charming and sweet as the seductive Paula. A lot of well-needed comic energy comes from the supporting cast, especially from Kathy Bates as Tripp’s mom and Zooey Deschanel as Paula’s quirky roommate. Deschanel delivers her lines with perfect comic timing as does Bates—watch for Bates’hilarious reaction during a dinner scene with Tripp and Paula. Admittedly, the plot does feel a bit derivative, predictable and clichéd. Fortunately, screenwriters Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember do more than make up for that by providing enough witty dialogue to keep you engaged and to make you feel thoroughly refreshed. Director Tom Dey keeps a fast pace and chooses picturesque locations for some scenes—i.e. when Tripp takes Paula sailing, the camera makes the best out of the glistening blue sea. Even though the two leads have little chemistry together, you still want them to end up together because they’re just so appealing and, of course, that’s what the plot formula calls for. But there’s nothing wrong with predictability when you’re having so much fun watching charismatic actors shine and radiate enough energy to keep your eyes glued onto the screen for 97 minutes—an ideal running time for a romantic comedy. Be sure to stay through the end credits for very funny outtakes.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The best way to experience life and love in all of its pains and pleasures is simply by “leaving the nest”, so to speak. Even though spending time one’s family should be an important priority in life, independence and freedom make you one stronger inside. Tripp is the best example of someone who looks physically strong, but clearly has intimacy problems because, basically, he’s a momma’s boy. Paula is the best thing that ever happened to him. By the end of Failure to Launch , you will feel uplifted and satisfied by the way everything turns out—it may even put a smile on the grouchiest curmudgeon.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Predictable and clichéd at times.


IN A NUTSHELL: A sunny, witty, and charming romantic comedy with a tremendously appealing cast! As long as you’re entertained, who cares if it’s predictable and clichéd?

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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