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Failure to Launch
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.