Failure to Launch



Formulaic romcom isn't meant for kids.
  • Review Date: June 26, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

What parents need to know

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.

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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:March 10, 2006
DVD release date:June 27, 2006
Cast:Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel
Director:Tom Dey
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for sexual content, partial nudity and language

This review of Failure to Launch was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byMaddieblk1 July 7, 2015

Good movie

It has sexual content but it doesn't show anything.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old June 18, 2009
Kids should not watch this movie! it is so innapropriate! the humor is hillareous though
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bySaSi April 9, 2008


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