Failure to Launch has one of those titles that begs me to poke fun. I could call it Failure to Laugh or say Failure to Launch fails to launch, but I won’t because it is actually quite an amiable romantic comedy.
Sarah Jessica Parker does a riff on her Sex in the City character Carrie Bradshaw as a woman who specializes in coaxing grown men to leave the nest. Her clients are usually the parents of man-boys who have “failed to launch.” They still live at home well past the point where they should be out on their own doing their own laundry and cooking for themselves. Matthew McConaughey is a handsome, successful thirty-something who still lives with his folks and has major relationship issues. She is hired to lure him out of his childhood bedroom, but of course there are complications.
Along the way we meet the usual rom-com suspects—his goofy friends, her slightly crazy roommate—while the story progresses in a paint-by-numbers way. There are no surprises here, just a few laughs and good-looking people falling in love, which is just as it should be otherwise this wouldn’t be a romantic comedy but a romantic tragedy.
Failure to Launch has an odd premise that wouldn’t happen in real life. As the story unfolded I had to wonder why McConaughey’s parents would go through such a complicated and potentially damaging scheme, so obviously doomed to failure to get rid of him rather than just talk to him. Of course if they did that there wouldn’t be much of a movie.
Failure to Launch is a good romantic comedy with a bad name.