"Meet the Parents, and Leave!"
FAILURE TO LAUNCH is a well-executed, entertaining romantic comedy, but it contains plenty of foul language and a hedonistic pagan worldview minimizing the consequences of premarital sex.
Thirty-five-year-old Tripp (played by Matthew McConaughey) is a ladies man who likes to end his romantic relationships by letting the women meet his parents. The women usually forsake him after that, not because Tripp’s parents are ogres or weird, but because Tripp still lives at home.
Tripp’s parents are anxious to get Tripp out on his own, especially since he has a successful job selling boats and small yachts. When they hear that one of their friends hired a female consultant, Paula, to help their own adult son leave the house, they decide to hire Paula (played by Sarah Jessica Parker). Paula’s modus operandi is to start a relationship with the intended victim and inspire the man’s feelings of confidence and his innate male desire to protect a woman in distress.
Tripp is more attractive than Paula’s usual clients, and they start falling romantically for each other. Paula learns through Tripp’s best friends that he has a good reason for his “failure to launch.” Before she can tell him the truth about her job, however, Tripp learns the truth. His pain and anger at being betrayed by Paula, not to mention his parents, ends their relationship on bitter terms. Tripp’s friends and Paula’s wacky roommate, however, devise a comical scheme to get them back together.
This is one of the better romantic comedies that Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker have made. Both are very good in it. The script is well written, and the supporting characters and cast add some comical zest and jeopardy to the plot.
The basic story, however, and one of the major subplots, provides the movie with a strong, hedonistic pagan worldview trivializing the consequences of premarital sex. The movie also contains implied scenes of fornication, mostly played for laughs. Furthermore, while Paula convinces Tripp that being committed to one woman is a good thing, he convinces her that having fun together is just as important. This message might be okay were it not for the movie’s scenes of implied fornication. FAILURE TO LAUNCH also has plenty of foul language and some light sexual references in the dialogue.
Accompanying these problematic elements are some positive moral elements. For example, the relationship between Tripp’s parents is strong, though Tripp’s mother is a little anxious about what will happen between she and her husband when Tripp finally moves out of their house. It is also clear that she and her husband care for their son and the predicament that has made him stay in their house for so long. Finally, one of the movie’s subplots involves a young boy whose mother died several years ago, and there are some positive elements regarding that situation.
Overall, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for older teenagers and adults for FAILURE TO LAUNCH.
(PaPa, B, LLL, V, S, N, A, M) Strong pagan worldview trivializing premarital sex and advocating fun as much as commitment, with light positive moral elements regarding protagonist's parents and their marriage, a child whose mother has died, a past tragedy, and adults living with their parents for long periods of time is seen as an unnatural state of affairs; about 22 obscenities (including one "f" word), five strong profanities and 13 light profanities; some comical violence, such as animals bite man's hand and fingers, dolphin grabs man by foot and drags him under ocean, man tied up, man slips and falls to ground while rock climbing, woman considers buying shotgun to get rid of loud bird constantly interrupting her sleep, bird knocked unconscious by intentional BB gun pellet and man has to give it CPR but bird bites his nose, and man falls into water; scenes of implied fornication, implied married sex when middle-aged married couple are holding one another under a comforter or blanket, and a couple light sexual jokes, such as character jokes about being with a man who was tied up; upper and rear male nudity, and some female cleavage; alcohol use; no smoking; and, lying, deceit, woman steals shotgun shell from store, and very minor character refers to a "god of fertility" in the one scene he appears.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH stars Matthew McConaughey as Tripp, a 35-year-old ladies man who likes to end his relationships by introducing his parents. The women usually forsake him after that, because they learn Tripp still lives at home. Tripp's parents hire a female consultant named Paula, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, to get Tripp to move out of their house. Her modus operandi is to inspire the intended victim's confidence, including his confidence in being able to take care of a woman. Paula starts falling for Tripp, however, who is better looking and more fun than her other, geekier clients. When Tripp finds out the truth, his pain and anger at being betrayed by her and his parents threatens to hurt more people than just Tripp.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH is a well-executed, entertaining romantic comedy with two strong romantic leads. The script is well written, and the whole cast adds comical zest and jeopardy to the plot. Regrettably, the movie contains lots of foul language and a strong pagan worldview that trivializes the serious consequences of premarital sex. Some light moral elements mitigate these problems a little bit. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.