Matthew McConaughey starred as Tripp, a clichéd thirty-something single guy with a slight twist — he still lives at home. While he thinks milking his parents (played by Kathy Bates and, for reasons that escape me, Terry Bradshaw) adds to his cool-guy persona, they disagree. So, they hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), an “interventionist” who helps guys like Tripp essentially grow-up (and move out) by pretending to be their girlfriend.
Things eventually get complicated when one of Tripp’s buddies falls for Paula’s roommate, who spills the beans. Fearing Tripp has been through enough considering his fiancée died years ago, they let him in on it. Things unravel from there.
It was as if the producers figured out that the film wasn’t working as a comedy, and made up the twist with the fiancée on the spot. A young African American kid, Jeffrey (Tyrell Jackson Williams), whose sort of in and out of the film hanging out with Tripp, turns out to be the son of the fiancée. For more than half the movie Jeffrey’s presence is unexplained.
Aside from that, the whole revelation about Tripp’s past changes the tenure of the film — but not enough. It’s not as though a drama breaks out. Besides one touching scene between mother and son, which is mostly about the mother’s relationship with the father, the revelation is merely used as a device to move the film along.
The secondary relationship between Tripp’s buddy and Paula’s roommate, apparently meant to enhance the hilarity, is just goofy. Even with all of these flaws, I could’ve given this film a passable “watch it for fun while looking for something better.” Then I was forced to look at Terry Bradshaw’s naked ass.
Excuse me while I shudder. Again.
Failure to Launch is aptly titled for all the wrong reasons. It sucks.