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Tom Dey
Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates
Writing Credits:
Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember

To leave the nest, some men just need a little push.

A slacker dude in his 30s (McConaughey) is lured into finally leaving home when his parents (Bates, Bradshaw) hire a hottie (Parker) to pose as the girl of his dreams and lure him out of the house.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$24.411 million on 3057 screens.
Domestic Gross
$88.029 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 6/27/2006

• “Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch
• “The Failure to Launch Phenomenon”
• “Dating in the New Millennium” Featurette
• “Moviefone.com Unscripted With Matthew and Terry” Featurette
• “The Failure to Launch Contest” Featurette
• Trailer
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Failure To Launch: Special Collector's Edition (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 14, 2006)

Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker pair up for an attempt at romantic comedy with Failure to Launch. When Tripp (McConaughey) brings women home, he runs into problems. It’s not because he’s not a stud – he encounters difficulties because he’s 35 and he still lives with his parents Sue and Al (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw). Tripp seems nothing wrong with this, possibly because his pals Demo (Bradley Cooper) and Ace (Justin Bartha) also continue to reside with their folks.

Matters have the potential to change, however, when he meets Paula (Parker) while shopping for recliners. It turns out that this wasn’t a chance encounter. Al and Sue recruit Paula to lure Tripp out of the home. She works as a "relationship simulator” who does this professionally. When Tripp moves out, she’ll give him the boot.

Shock of all shocks: Paula starts to fall for Tripp. The movie follows her emotional journey and how she and Tripp relate to each other. Alleged surprises occur along the way.

Like many films in its genre, Launch provides a film built around a loose concept. The idea of the kid who won’t leave home provides a minor twist, as does Paula’s mercenary nature. However, that’s as much inspiration as you’ll find.

Nothing else about the film vaguely deviates from the standard romantic comedy. Actually, I suppose that’s not true, but all of the variations fail to benefit the project. Launch packs in lots of cute scenarios without much substance to connect them. What purpose does Tripp’s chipmunk attack serve? Why do we need a long paintball sequence for the bonding instead of something more sensible and concise?

To fill out the running time, of course. Launch barely lasts an hour and a half, but it feels padded and overly long anyway. So many of the scenes don’t have any purpose other than to attempt comedy. They fail and just make the film even more tedious.

But hey, why bother with interesting characters and an intriguing plot when you can throw out cheap slapstick instead? Oh, and we get pathetic attempts at clever repartee. The lines lack any form of natural qualities and feel badly contrived. The dialogue is consistently forced and contrived.

The movie can’t even muster any believable supporting characters. Why does Paula live with dark and bitter Kit (Zooey Deschanel)? To create even more flaccid attempts at humor. The film features a running gag where Kit tries to off an irritating mockingbird. None of this amuses, and it just acts as another unnecessary sidebar. The movie even detours to show her and new boyfriend Ace as they have to give the bird CPR – a segment that blatantly steals from There’s Something About Mary.

Everything about Failure to Launch suffers from an absurd pre-fab tone. It connects poor attempts at humor with a rudimentary story but lacks any charm or chemistry. The movie never prospers as it comes across as a weak attempt at a romantic comedy.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

Failure to Launch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a consistently good transfer but not a special one.

Sharpness was usually acceptable. Light edge enhancement appeared, and that occasionally left the image without great definition. Most of the movie was fine, though, as it usually presented solid clarity and delineation. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws seemed absent.

Colors looked natural and fairly lively. The movie favored a broad palette and replicated the tones in a warm, distinctive fashion. Blacks seemed reasonably deep and dense, while shadows were usually smooth and clear. A few low-light scenes came across as a little dark, though. The moderate issues with sharpness left this one as a “B” transfer.

Given the romantic comedy roots of Failure to Launch, I expected little from its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundfield. Indeed, this was a fairly restricted soundfield that fell in line with films of this genre. The audio stayed largely focused on the front channels. A few elements like bicycling and paintball opened up the surrounds a bit, but there wasn’t a lot of information on display. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the general ambience was fine.

Audio quality was acceptable. Speech seemed natural and concise, with no issues connected to edginess. Effects were a minor consideration but sounded clean and accurate. Music also demonstrated good clarity and vivacity. There wasn’t a lot of ambition on display here, but the track worked fine for the material.

Most of the DVD’s extras come from its five featurettes. First comes the 11-minute and 41-second Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch. Like the rest of the programs, it melds movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from writers Matt Ember and Tom Astle, director Tom Dey, and actors Matthew McConaughey, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Bates, and Zooey Deschanel. “Off” looks at why the participants chose to work on the project, the actors’ performances and personalities, and aspects of the story. A few mildly funny stories emerge, but for the most part, this is nothing more than bland promotional fluff.

Next comes The Failure to Launch Phenomenon”. This 11-minute and 23-second piece features McConaughey, Parker, Ember, Astle, real-life adults who still live at home Peter Micek, Opher Mizrahi, and Bob Tebbe, Peter’s parents Teresa and John Micek, Becoming a Wise Parent for Your Grown Child co-authors Betty Frain and Eileen M. Clegg, and Peter’s aunt Dorothy Svihovee. The show looks at the concept of grown men who continue to live with their relatives. It gives us a little insight into that idea, though I don’t think Micek belongs here; he’s only 24, which isn’t that old to still be at home. I’d have preferred more with the other guys, both of whom are in their thirties. That’s just sad!

For the six-minute and 56-second Dating in the New Millennium, we find comments from Tango Magazine editor Marnie Hanel, Spark Networks VP Gail Laguna, advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, author Jillian Strauss, Tango Magazine founder/president Andrea Miller, Tango Magazine deputy editor Kelly Bare, and Table for Six Total Adventures CEO Julie Paiva. True to the program’s title, we hear about modern dating options and challenges. This is a decent overview of popular concepts like online dating and speed dating, though it does occasionally feel like an ad for some of the services.

Two actors chat during Moviefone.com Unscripted With Matthew and Terry. Within its 13 minutes and 38 seconds, we see a conversation with McConaughey and Bradshaw. The guys inteview each other as they throw out questions submitted by Moviefone.com readers. They cover subjects like working with Kathy Bates, McConaughey’s reaction to Bradshaw playing his dad, doing nude scenes, thoughts about sports, Bradshaw’s approach to acting and his reluctance to work in films, McConaughey’s impressions of being “Sexiest Man Alive”, what they love about making movies, and dating experiences.

This isn’t the most in-depth chat you’ll ever see, but it’s a lot of fun. Both Bradshaw and McConaughey mix easily and show charm. They seem like they’d be great guys to hang out with and yak over a beer, and that tone makes this an enjoyable little piece.

Finally, The Failure to Launch Contest goes for five minutes, 58 seconds. This looks at adults who still live at home, and actors Cooper and Bartha have to pick one of three finalists who’ll win six months free rent. Thousands of nominees and these were the three they picked? None of them seem like the losers we want to see. They’re all young – though one’s 29 - and they’re not in keeping with the movie’s spirit.

Along with a trailer for Launch, the DVD includes some ads. We get clips for She’s The Man, Barnyard and Mission: Impossible III. These appear in the disc’s Previews area and also start the DVD.

Failure to Launch starts with a cynical concept and doesn’t get any better from there. It barely attempts a true story, as it prefers slapstick vignettes and cheap character laughs. The DVD offers reasonably good picture and audio along with a few decent extras. A bad movie from start to finish, Launch even subjects it to shots of Terry Bradshaw’s naked ass. This may qualify it as cruel and unusual punishment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.625 Stars Number of Votes: 16
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