There are two essential components of a good romantic comedy: romance and comedy. This aptly titled movie fails at both. In order for one to "buy" a romance story, one must feel connected to the characters involved in the relationship. One needs to be able to relate to or empathize with them. One has to care about whether or not they get together in the end. "Failure to Launch" (which felt like the longest movie I've ever watched) gives us two contemptible leads and then expects us to enjoy watching a "romance" unfold that even the characters realize they are faking it.
Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) is a manboy that deserves to be slapped around and told to "grow up and be a man" and Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) is being paid to be in the relationship as part of some bizarre "job" the movie has made up for her. Let's see taking money to spend time with men, be their "arm candy," and have sex with them. I call that a prostitute, but the movie calls it a recipe for laughs. But something went horribly wrong in the kitchen. The only thing that was remotely funny was the character of Kit (Zooey Deschanel). Her drunken and violent moodswings brought on by a mocking bird outside her window were slightly amusing but nowhere near funny enough to justify this movie's existence.
McConaughey and Parker do not have an iota of chemistry. A burning question I had while watching this movie is "Should we even consider McConaughey an actor anymore?" Yeah, he was pretty decent in "Dazed and Confused" and "Frailty," but he doesn't even seem to be trying anymore. Parker is an actress who annoys me and I have never found her attractive for some reason I can't quite figure out (though I think my mom nailed it saying she is "horsey"). Kathy Bates is one of my favorite actresses and it was heartbreaking to see her phoning it in here. I felt like everyone in the cast was fully aware of how crappy this movie was going to be so they just decided to see how much worse they could make it. And I saw way too much of Terry Bradshaw. I will never be able to look at "NFL Sunday" the same way again.
I was told that as a Child and Family Development major I would enjoy this movie's take on the recent social trend of renesting and "adultescence." I am interested in these topics (and in avoiding these trends in my own life), and I was interested in seeing what this movie had to say about them. The answer is nothing. The movie is like that annoying guy in class who always has to say something but doesn't really have anything to add to the discussion because he doesn't really know what he's talking about. You know the guy? Right? Patricia? The movie pats itself on the back for being "socially aware," but all it manages to say is "there is a problem." It says nothing about the problem or life for that matter. A more sophisticated romantic comedy, such as "As Good As It Gets," would have given us something to ponder about. This...nada.
Now, don't think that I hated this movie just because it's a "chick flick" and I'm a dude. I generally don't like labeling a movie as a "guy" or "girl" movie anyway, and I do like good romantic comedies. My favorites include the aforementioned "As Good As It Gets," "When Harry Met Sally...," "Chasing Amy," and the lighter "Return to Me" (with both Fox Mulder and Archie Bunker!). It's just that this movie is not a good romantic comedy. In fact, it's pretty terrible, and most of them over the last several years have been the same way.
(Note: I am about to generalize about the opposite sex. Ladies, I know that many of you have good taste in movies so please don't hate me. I'm generalizing to make a point.) This movie opened number one at the box office two weeks ago and has remained in the top five. Why do women keep supporting dreck like this? The more money people spend going to see crap, the more crap gets made. I wish that women would rally around good "chick flicks" and shun junk like this.
Many of my female aquaintances justify their liking movies like this by saying that they don't care about the story they'll just see anything with (Insert Male Star) because he's hot, they want a movie that makes them "feel good," ,and they don't want to "have to think about it." Funny, I've heard people describe pornography the same way.