‘Failure to Launch’ never attains liftoff
All the big premises in “Failure to Launch” add up to little promise.While I can’t claim to be the biggest fan of romantic comedies, I do miss how an unexpectedly lively one would pop out of the mainstream during the 1980s and ’90s. But what was a winning formula – one key conceit, a couple of stars, a strong supporting cast – has turned into a formula for churning out surprisingly lifeless fare lately.The conceit is the most important thing to “Failure to Launch,” which is the phrase interventionist Paula (actress Sarah Jessica Parker) uses to describe guys like Tripp (Matthew McConaughey): He’s a successful, Porsche-driving boat broker who lives with his parents, who still do his laundry, cook him breakfast, et. al.Tripp’s parents (Kathy Bates, who, thankfully, doesn’t go topless like she did in the last movie I saw her in, and Terry Bradshaw, who does) don’t want to kick their son out so much as they want to ease him out into a life on his own. So they hire Paula, whose method is a cut-and-dried series of steps to make guys fall in love with her so they will fly the family nest.If that seems like a lot of concept for a movie that barely runs in excess of an hour and a half, you might be right. But that’s not all there is to “Failure to Launch” – there’s still an animal-bite subplot, a relationship between supporting characters, a back story and a Great Outdoor Games fixation in the mix. It’s a wonder the movie has time for the main plot line.While the leads are surprisingly bland, the supporting cast almost makes up for it. Spry Zooey Deschanel steals most of the scenes she’s in as Paula’s hard-drinking roommate, Kit, and Justin Bartha (“National Treasure”) complements her as Tripp’s down-on-his-luck buddy, Ace.Maybe “Failure to Launch” is simply trying to do too much in too little time and bites off more than it can chew. As a result, it never really gets off the ground.
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