Failure to Launch

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Failure to Launch Movie Poster Image
Formulaic romcom isn't meant for kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Paula is hired to seduce Tripp; the adolescent-adult male character is a tired cliché.


Tripp is bitten by various animals, falls off a short cliff, crashes his bike; someone shoots a bird, which is then resuscitated.


Sexual situations include innuendo, activity in bed; " interventionist" is hired to seduce hero away from living at his parents. Naked male backside.


Some profanity, including f-word and a few mentions of s---t.


Cars (Porsche), Mint Milanos, Apple and Dell laptops.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie may not appeal to teens, who probably don't care much about an immature 35-year-old. The movie includes frequent comic sexual references. The film opens on a date that ends with a couple in bed, Tripp's parents appear in bed together (and Terry Bradshaw appears naked in one scene, with fish tank judiciously placed to hide his privates). Paula pretends to have her ailing dog put to sleep (and cries about it) in order to win Tripp's sympathy; they have sex one night in his bedroom (you see parents listening to moans and squeals). Several scenes of comic violence. Lots of drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygizmoandco April 9, 2008


This is an amazing movie and it is a lesson in true love. Everyone in middle school or higher should see it. Even though some moments are a little inapproppriat... Continue reading
Adult Written byfr0stedshad0w April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written byMaddieblk1 July 7, 2015

Good movie

It has sexual content but it doesn't show anything.
Kid, 11 years old June 18, 2009
Kids should not watch this movie! it is so innapropriate! the humor is hillareous though

What's the story?

FAILURE TO LAUNCH centers around Tripp (Matthew McConaughey), who thinks he has it all -- a Porsche, a job selling yachts, infinitely patient parents, his childhood bedroom, and a decided lack of commitment. Whenever a girlfriend gets too serious, the 35-year-old pretty boy reveals that he still lives with his parents. But Tripp's folks (Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates) yearn for some quality retirement time, and so they hire "interventionist" Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) to seduce him into adulthood. Tripp also has a couple of tediously forever-adolescent buddies (Adam Alexi-Malle and Justin Bartha), with whom he discusses his choices; while Paula comes equipped with a harried, slightly edgy roommate, Kit (Zooey Deschanel), who notices when her friend begins to fall for Tripp.

Is it any good?

Goofy and awkward, Failure to Launch is a predictable romantic comedy with a standard set-up that leads to the predictable turns. Paula and Tripp are opposites, Tripp reveals his sensitive side, and Paula shows she can loosen up when encouraged by his exuberance. As Tripp must learn to be an adult to be appreciated by Paula and she must learn to be open to appreciate him, the parents must also learn to live with one another.

Kit seems mostly to be in another movie, though her sudden and unlikely affection for one of the buddies pulls her back inside the main plot: too bad for her and the rest of us. The film, which begins as broad, even antic comedy, eventually turns serious, and you end up waiting 20 minutes too long for the machine to wind down.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the phenomenon of adult children living with their parents. How does Tripp's perpetual adolescence affect his parents? Why is Tripp so afraid to grow up? Does the movie glamorize "the bachelor lifestyle"? What stereotypes does this movie rely upon?

Movie details

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