Monday, March 20, 2006

FAILURE TO LAUNCH - I smell something bad

FAILURE TO LAUNCH is a slick, big-budget romantic-comedy starring the highly buff Matthew McConaughey and Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker. Sadly, the newbie director and writers fail to deliver a movie that lives up to the names on the posters. The big problem is that the central premise of the movie is really rather sleazy and has no place in a straightforward romantic-comedy. McConaughey plays a thirty-something man's man who loves the ladies but still lives with his mum and dad. His parents are exasperated and resort to hiring Sarah Jessica-Parker's character. SJP plays a chick whu dates men who have "failed to launch" from the family home. She suckers them into feeling good about themselves and then gently dumps them when they are confident enough to leave home. The movie is at pains to point out that the SJP character doesn't actually sleep with the men, but I just thought the whole thing was ridiculous and icky. But even if you can swallow the central premise, the movie still suffers from a wildly uneven tone. At some points, it goes for broad physical comedy: there's a running gag involving McConaughey getting bitten by wild animals. Then it flips into trying to be serious - as when we learn WHY McC. is so scared of commitment. Finally, it goes for deadpan black humour. This is by far the most successful strand of the movie and centres around the glorious Zooey Deschanel, who plays SJP's room-mate. Deschanel has real comic ability and serves to show up how bad the rest of the movie is. Overall, despite the likeability of all the main actors, FAILURE TO LAUNCH is definitely one to avoid.

FAILURE TO LAUNCH is already on release in the US, France, Germany and Austria. It opens in the UK next week.

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