He's sexy, he's funny and yes, he's bald. I'm talking about Terry Bradshaw, who plays Matthew McConaughey's father in the romantic comedy "Failure to Launch." Why am I talking about Terry Bradshaw? Because I like Terry Bradshaw, and he is about the only thing that gets off the ground in this dud of a flick.
McConaughey stars as handsome and carefree bachelor Tripp, who is so carefree that he is still living at home with his parents. His parents, played by Bradshaw and Kathy Bates, want him out of the house so badly (obviously not badly enough to just kick him out) that they hire a woman (Sarah Jessica Parker) to toy with his emotions and to get him to move out on his own free will. Of course, you can guess where it is all going to end up - the big secret revealed, the break up and the final reunion where they kiss and make up. Despite the seemingly unique plot, "Failure to Launch" is about as original as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and at least those are satisfying.
I generally like McConaughey, but have grown frustrated with him in recent years. After all, for a short while I thought he was going to be the next big thing, but then came dud after dud after dud, or at least so-so flick after so-so flick. The breakout film never came for McConaughey, and I think he's realized that - he has now resorted to safe, harmless films that have him playing the same old character.
To make matters worse than a bitter McConaughey is the fact that I just don't like Sarah Jessica Parker. She was good in "Sex and the City," but, let's face it, she was also the least interesting out of the four woman. I've liked few, if any, of her movies, and she just doesn't impress me very much. "Failure to Launch" is no different for the surprisingly successful star; she's flat, and her chemistry with McConaughey is meager at best.
To the actors' credits, the real problem lies in the script. The movie tries to be funny when it just doesn't have the right to be, and is so bad that it resorts to stupid animal-biting scenes. Yes, this is a romantic comedy seemingly grounded in reality, right? So why does McConaughey get attacked by a chipmunk that refuses to let go? Why does he get dragged underwater by an evil dolphin? Why does one of his friends shoot a bird with a BB gun and then give it mouth-to-mouth to resuscitate it? How stupid can you get?
By the time the third act rolled around, I was done with this flick. Thankfully, out of everything that failed in "Failure to Launch," one thing did not - the remote control. Fast-forwarding through most of the final scenes is actually more rewarding than watching them, and then you finish early enough where you have some time to write this review before sitting down for a nice, pleasant evening of "Deadwood" on HBO. Goodbye.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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