I have to admit I went into the new film “Failure to Launch” not expecting much.
The trailers for this romantic comedy suggested a film similar to the brain-dead “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” leaving me with little hope for an enjoyable experience.
While I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised, “Launch” still wasn't good enough to recommend. It does have its moments, notably from a strong supporting cast, but not enough to make it worth your while.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Tripp, a 30-something slacker still living in his parents' house.
Tripp's parents hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), a problem-solver who specializes in motivating slackers like Tripp. Paula's plan is to create a romantic relationship with Tripp that ultimately leads to him moving out. But as the pair spend more and more time together, Paula starts to realize she may actually have feelings for Tripp.
“Failure to Launch” is at its best when the supporting cast takes center stage. Kathy Bates and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw are very good as Tripp's parents, while Zooey Deschanel is delightful as Paula's stoic roommate Kit. When any of these three actors is on the screen, “Launch” is a rather enjoyable film.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case with McConaughey and Parker.
Although both are fine in their roles, the script just doesn't do a good enough job of making the relationship believable - and McConaughey and Parker don't have enough chemistry to overcome that fatal flaw.
As a result, “Failure to Launch” gets credit for some entertaining elements, but not enough to make this anything more than a mediocre romantic comedy.
“Failure to Launch”
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker
Directed by: Tom Dey
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and language
Playing at: Highland Cinemas (Glasgow), Great Escape 12 (Opens Friday)
DVD dud of the week
This week's dud is “A History of Violence” (C+). David Cronenberg's highly overrated thriller starts out promising, but quickly caves into absurd melodrama.
“Violence” tells the story of Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), a mild-mannered citizen in a small Indiana town who gains notoriety after thwarting a robbery attempt.
But Stall's deed doesn't come without a price. His actions attract media attention, which leads to some seedy people showing up claiming Stall's past is just as shady as their own.
As “Violence” unfolded, I found myself interested in where the story was going. Mortensen gives a nice, quiet performance, while Maria Bello and Ed Harris have interesting roles as Tom's wife and one of the men intent on revealing Tom's past.
But “Violence” reveals its hand way too early, and then proceeds to deliver a second hour that left me cold. Cronenberg includes two rather graphic sex scenes that belong in another film, and by the time we get to a cameo by William Hurt (who gives perhaps the worst performance of 2005), “Violence” has eroded into nothing more than a bad TV pilot.
I realize a lot of people loved “A History of Violence,” but this is one case where the hype is definitely overblown.
“A History of Violence” is rated R for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, language and some drug use. It is now available on DVD.