Failure to Launch (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we must eventually fly the coop. Mom and Dad have raised us, put us through school (sometimes for much longer than anticipated) and now it’s time to pack up your belongings and find your own place. Get a job, pay your bills and build a life for yourself. Sometimes that’s not always the case and though the door to Mom and Dad’s house will always be open, it’s up to the kids to realize when enough is enough and to go out and face the real world. Admittedly, as much as it’s nice to always have clean clothes, three meals a day and the security of a roof over your head that you’re not paying for, this isn’t utopia. “Failure to Launch” takes a look at someone who literally just won’t leave home. And you know what; he’s perfectly fine with it! Granted, this is a romantic comedy so even before the opening credits roll, we can deduce that all will work out in the end. I mean, that’s just how these things work. And with the movie coming out around Valentine’s Day, Paramount would be simply insane not to put out a cheerful romantic comedy, much like they did in 2003 with “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” starring…Matthew McConaughey. It would seem that history does in fact, repeat itself.

McConaughey playes Tripp, a boat broker who has no trouble getting a date. He’ll take them back to his place (where they are in awe of his perfect house) only to have sex with them and to break up with them. You see, Tripp has a fear of commitment and only dates women until he thinks they get serious – then he cuts them loose. His parents (played by Kathy Bates and ex-quarterback Terry Bradshaw) aren’t too happy with him as they want him out to enjoy their golden years. They hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) who runs a business of getting middle-aged kids to move out of their houses simply by romancing them. It’s an odd concept, for sure but there’s a market for everything these days. Tripp naturally has a few fellow slacker friends; there’s Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper), both of whom also live at home with their parents and are also quite fine with it. I have to admit that the real scene stealer is Paula’s roommate, Kit (Zooey Deschanel) who has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and great comic timing. She literally owns nearly every scene she’s in and had my rolling on the floor with laughter (yes, really). Anyway, back to the plot…as you might imagine, Paula and Tripp instantly hit it off and we learn why Tripp has a fear of commitment. Naturally we know there’ll be a downfall and the two will have to reconcile to make things work and like happily ever after. Or will they?

I have to admit that I really liked “Failure to Launch” and I’m not much on the romantic comedy genre as I find them all pretty predictable. The supporting cast is great and the chemistry between Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates is certainly there. Bradshaw was once dubbed “…so dumb, he couldn’t spell C-A-T if you spotted him the C and the A…” but he’s actually pretty good here. And let’s just say that we see a little too much of a naked Terry Bradshaw later on in the movie (consider yourself warned). I feel that Sarah Jessica Parker was miscast here and that any romantic comedy she’s done or will do is just a rip off of her character from “Sex and the City” (something that made her a true star, but also typecast her for the rest of her career) as it could have been played by several actresses of her caliber. The director, Tom Dey, had previously had a few minor hits with “Shanghai Noon” and “Showtime” and having seen both of those, I’d say his talent is for more of a light-hearted tone. “Failure to Launch” delivers what you’d expect but again, I really enjoyed it.

Video: How does it look?

This Blu-ray version of “Failure to Launch” is shown in a great-looking 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer that leaves little to be desired. Something that bothered me about the standard DVD was some edge enhancement in the outdoor scenes. Thankfully this has been taken care of in this HD version. Colors are bright and vivid and the detail is bumped up a few notches as well. There’s no artifacting to speak of but a few of the scenes do contain a bit of softness. As is the case with most new Blu-ray (or HD DVD) films, they look better than their standard DVD counterparts and this is certainly no exception.

Audio: How does it sound?

Although uncompressed audio tracks are all the rage, a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is included here which, for the most part, sounds pretty good and about what we’d expect for a movie like this. There are a few instances in which the surrounds really take over, most noticeably in the paintball scene in which we can hear thousands of paintballs flying about. It’s a great example of how surrounds can add a lot of added ambiance to any given scene. Dialogue is very warm and natural and though there’s nothing that really gives this an extra kick, it’s a good and solid-sounding track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“Failure to Launch” actually was a failure to launch when it was announced for Valentine’s Day on HD but all the issues have been worked out and supplements-wise, “Failure to Launch” basically contains 5 featurettes. There are a few “Making of…” features that are pretty self-explanatory, but what I found interesting was the Moviefone unscripted sequence with Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw. They play off one another while telling little tales from the shoot. It’s fresh and fun and obviously shows the chemistry between the two off-screen. There was also a “Failure to Launch” contest in which actors Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha judged the final three contestants. These contestants entered a contest as they all still lived at home and Bartha and Cooper must ultimately reward one of the three with some money so they can get their own place. The original theatrical trailer is also included in HD (the only sole HD extra, by the way).

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