Failure to Launch (2006) - Special Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Comedy / Romance
Paramount || PG13 - 96 minutes - $29.95 || June 27th, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-06-25

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Tom Dey
Writer(s): Tom J. Astle (written by) & Matt Ember (written by)
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates

Theatrical Release Date: March 10th, 2006

Supplemental Material:
  • Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch
  • The Failure to Launch Phenomenon
  • Dating in the New Millenium
  • Unscripted
  • The Failure to Launch Contest
  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


Plot (from DVD back cover): Matthew McConaughey is Tripp, a 35-year-old who still lives with his parents. And who can blame him? Itís free, heís got a great room, and mom (Kathy Bates) does the laundry. Desperate to get him out of the house, his parents hire a gorgeous woman, Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), to give him a littleÖ push. They didnít expect Tripp would push back!

As a 26-year-old male, I am not ashamed to admit I like the occasional cheesy romantic comedy, so long as it offers two leads with good chemistry and a story that works as a whole. Unfortunately, even though stars Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker look good together, I didnít any kind of spark between the two. When I think of dynamic on-screen couples, I think of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan who have starred together in 3 movies over the years, the last one being 1998ís Youíve Got Mail. Even though Mail isnít a great movie, I enjoy watching these two actors together so much, I can forgive lack of story and a been there, done that plot.

On the surface, Failure to Launch does present an interesting trend happening in America as grown men still live with their parents (for whatever reason). An equally interesting Hollywood moment also forms with the parents hiring a woman to coax their son out. Outside of this being downright creepy, itís also just plain stupid. Of course, this is just a movie and one with a situation that could easily be resolved with a conversation around the dinner table. The problem is, in these misunderstanding-led movies, they lead into truly funny moments, but outside of a scene or two, I didnít find much about the comedy aspect very good. This leads to the romance part.

Both McConaughey and Parker are attractive people and even though Parker isnít my type, I can still buy her in the role... if it were fleshed out more that is. The two leads both have personal reasons why theyíre in the situation theyíre in. Tripp has had tragedy in the past keeping him from moving on while Paula uses her job as a way to shield herself from serious relationships. All of this wouldíve worked if the film were a dramatic comedy as opposed to being stuck in a genre with little room to surprise audiences.

I actually found Kit (Deschanel), Paulaís roommate, far more interesting than Paula or Tripp. Perhaps Iím attracted to women with sarcastic humor, but it seemed like her character was funnier and -- in my humble opinion-- more attractive than the lead. True, thatís a much more of a subjective judgment but it did factor into why I didnít care for the film.

Also at fault, is a poor job in editing, even by Rom-Com standards. Editor Steven Rosenblum has had an off-on career ranging from great films like The Last Samurai, Glory, Legends of the Fall and Braveheart to crapfests xXx: State of the Union and (to a certain extent), The Four Feathers. Nothing really looked or felt right.

Finally, Failure to Launch also doesnít seem to know what it is. At itís core, is trying to be a romantic comedy, but they also add in a sub-plot where Tripp gets attacked by various creatures including a chipmunk, lizard and a dolphin. So, I guess itís now a nature-harmony romantic comedy? I donít know, but these scenes felt out of place and something belonging in a Sandler movie.

And thatís the crux of the matter. Failure failed to figure out its own identity issues and instead weíre given a hodge-podge of different ideas fitting for other movies. Itís certainly not a bad film, but in a genre so hard to find new ideas, it falls flat.


Despite raking in nearly $90 million in the U.S. (source: Box Office Mojo), those in charge didnít give the DVD anything useful and for this one, a commentary from even the supporting actors like Deschanel, Justin Bartha and/or Bradley Cooper, wouldíve been absolutely fun to listen to.

Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch (11:35) - Really standard stuff with on-set and press junket footage as the cast and crew explain the plot. Each talk about friends who do still live with their parents and why they do. Thereís a bit of fun to be had with some behind-the-scenes footage and seeing the good times between cast members. The best info probably comes from writers Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember who had experiences with some of the moments. More of a ďwhy should you see this movieĒ kind of feature than anything of use...

The Failure to Launch Phenomenon (10:37) - This featurette gets some insight into why this is happening more and more in America today from a few psychologists as well as young men, and their parents, who are still living at home. An interesting watch in a cultural way that I think, if it hasnít already been done, would make a good story on the multiple ďDatelineĒ shows airing each week.

Dating in the New Millenium (6:03) - Goes into different kinds of dating, from Internet to speed dating. They also talk to other companies such as or ďTable for Six Total AdventuresĒ, a company that helps develop peopleís social life for those lacking in that department. Then it turns into more of a psychological essay on changing oneself to fit how the other person is and so on. Unscripted (13:35) - Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw get together to interview each other on various subjects including (of course) football and the Texas Longhorns winning the National Championship, Bradshaw making his first film appearance (as another character I guess) in 25 years and just general clowning around. This is the best of the bunch as we get to see two guyís guys just having a good time.

The Failure to Launch Contest (5:55) - Actors Justin Bartha (Ace) and Bradley Cooper (Demo) get to choose from three finalist in a contest run in conjunction with to find the person most deserving to move out of their parents home and into an apartment rent free for 6-months. Fun but only a reminder of why these two shouldíve had a commentary.

The disc also includes a theatrical trailer and previews for other Fox flicks.



Picture: The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen and looks like any romantic-comedy should: light-hearted with bright colors and an airy feel of freshness. Itís a comedy, what do you expect, Oscar winning cinematography?

Sound: Youíre given the ďchoiceĒ between Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 Surround as well as a 5.1 Surround French track.


Failure to Launch is fine as an escape flick and you donít feel like watching anything else at the time. Some will fall for the typical rom-com trappings but even with the fascinating social aspect, this is one of the poorer entries into the genre that Iíve seen in a while.