DVD Review HTF Review: Failure to Launch

Discussion in 'DVD' started by PatWahlquist, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

    Jun 13, 2002
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    Failure to Launch

    Studio: Paramount Home Video
    Rated: PG13 (Sexual content, partial nudity and language)
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16x9 displays
    Audio: English DD 5.1; English DD 2.0; French DD 5.1
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Time: 96 minutes
    Disc Format: 1 DVD-9
    Case Style: Keep case
    Theatrical Release Date:2006
    DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006

    Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) is living the life: he’s got a swell pad, video games on his wide screen TV, his mom does his laundry and cooks for him and he gets to hang out with his buddies whenever he wants. The only problem is Tripp is 35…and he still lives at home. But he doesn’t see this as an issue since he’s known no other way of life and he believes his parents still want him around. When his parents get together with some friends of theirs in similar circumstances, they make the decision to kick Tripp out of the nest. Not surprisingly (at least in the world of this picture) they find a girl who can accommodate this need for a fee: Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker). Paula runs a business of being hired to befriend these clutching lads and build their confidence to a level where they finally move out. Tripp is not so easily swayed and he usually uses the parental units as a way to end relationships when the gals get too serious and threaten his lifestyle. Paula sees Tripp as a special case, and she utilizes her roommate Kit (Zooey Deschanel) as a sounding board to her progress. Kit is a trippy slacker grrrll who is more concerned with an annoying mockingbird than Paula’s business troubles. As Paula spends more time with Tripp, she learns that there is more to Tripp’s life than she initially suspected, and her most difficult case may wind up being her most personal as well.

    I love it when Hollywood cranks out their newest “romantic comedy” only to have the audience find it neither romantic nor funny. As was clearly the case here, somebody got what could have been a decent script and gave it to a director who really didn’t know what the heck to do with it. The jokes fall flat; the actors seem to be trying extra hard to coax a smile out of the audience while at the same time realizing there’s just no way to make it any better. Terry Bradshaw, of all people, shows up as Tripp’s dad and provides a surreal post-retirement attitude by setting up a “naked room” for him to, you guessed it, walk around in naked. Zooey Deschanel’s Kit winds up being morose and snotty as a Gen-Whatever who’s just looking for love, although she’d never just tell you that. The whole Kit subplot actually takes up about half the movie, and it just goes to show how thin and weak the “A story” really is.

    About the only redeeming aspect of the picture is Tripp’s interaction with his two friends, Ace and Demo (Justin Bartha and Bradley Cooper, respectively). The boys enjoy partaking in numerous extreme sports together and share the same domestic arrangements. There is also an oddball analogy regarding Tripp’s place in nature and how he has upset the balance, but this at least provides a couple laughs.

    The picture is correctly framed at 2.35:1 and it is an anamorphic transfer. This is actually a very nice picture, with good contrast and nice saturation in the flesh tones. McConaughey has quite a tan in the picture, and you can see the differences between him and anyone he is standing near. Foreground detail is good, but background and fine detail can be murky at times. Black levels are good and there is a fair amount of detail in the shadows. Edge enhancement is noticeable throughout the picture, but it is not overbearing. I did not notice and compression artifacts or video noise, nor was there any film dirt.

    I watched the disc with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track engaged. As was expected, there was not a lot of activity in the surround mix, with the surrounds opening up only a couple times when there were music cues or environmental effects. When the surrounds did engage they combined to produce and enveloping sound field. LFE’s were nonexistent, so much so I had to check the settings on my receiver to ensure there was nothing wrong! ADR was not noticed, and the voices had a natural sound to them.

    Bonus Material:
    Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch (11:37): the actors talk about the central plot of the picture and the characters motivations. I got a good laugh when the writers compared the picture to classic Billy Wilder. The actors also fawn over one another.

    The Failure to Launch Phenomenon (11:18): A discussion of the social ramifications of real life Tripp’s and interviews with them and they’re enablers. However, the real-life ones just aren’t as cool. Or as good looking.

    Dating in the New Millennium (6:52): various relationship authors and “experts in the dating field” discuss how dating patterns and practices have changed. There are clips from various speed dating gatherings and group dinners. This segment may have been borrowed from The View.

    Moviefone.com Unscripted with Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw (13:36): the two actors answer questions from fans about their roles, their co-stars and the movie. This is a fun doc since the guys joke around with one another and discuss some of their life philosophies.

    The Failure to Launch Contest (5:54): Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha interview three finalists from a contest to find the biggest “failure to launch”. The winner gets six months of free rent!

    Theatrical Trailer

    Overall, this is a pretty lousy movie, but there are a few laughs here and there. I tend to find McConaughey’s laid-back attitude, both on screen and off, interesting and humorous. The DVD gives us a fairly nice presentation with a few extras to satisfy the casual viewer.
  2. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    i agree with about everything yousaid.
    except i didnt think it was lousy.

    i thought it was mildly amusing.

    major problem i had is with parker.
    i just dont buy her as a star at this point.
    she looked hideous in this movie.

    i only looked at the moviefone thing and it was pretty funny.
    they both were complaining (during the credits) about somethng that was cut from the moviefone, and it should have been left in because it was the funniet part.
    i would like to have seen it whatever it was.
  3. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

    Jan 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    My whole problem with the movie is McConaughey(with a few exceptions) has been milking pretty much the same movie role since Dazed and Confused.
  4. Jace_A

    Jace_A Second Unit

    Mar 19, 2005
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    Yes, the title of this film pretty much sum's up McConaughey's whole career. He's the laziest actor in the business; he has genuine talent, but continues to coast in dreck like this. I can't believe this is the best on offer for him. He gave almost the exact same performance in the equally woeful "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" with Kate Hudson.
  5. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Supporting Actor

    Oct 1, 2003
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    Anyone else agree that his (McConaughey's) best performance was "A Time to Kill"? These romantic comedies are getting old. Sure the girls think he's hot but damn let's see something that will challenge him.
  6. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Jun 19, 1999
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    I found this pretty bad as well.

    Romantic comedies are hard to do well, and usually leads to cliched and tired old plotlines and scenarios. Nothing here was unpredictable, nor was anything original.

    The only passable aspect of the film was Zooey Deschanel. Her character was amusing, although she's playing a similar type of character she played in The Good Girl.

    I have no problem with a female character being average or even unattractive, but I can't accept that Sarah Jessica Parker keeps coming across as every man's fantasy in her movies. She must have some connections in the industry that allows her to get cast in these roles.

    I agree that McConaughey's just picking the easiest roles and phoning it in. He's indistinguishable from one film to another.

    Also, can someone try to explain the purpose of having McConaughey's character being tormented by different animals? If it was for comic relief, it failed miserably - if there was another reason, please enlighten me.
  7. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

    Jun 13, 2002
    Likes Received:

    I actually enjoyed McConaughey in "Contact".

    As for him being tormented by wildlife, this is explained towards the end of the picture.
  8. Chris Parham

    Chris Parham Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 13, 2004
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    Did anyone else notice some major artifacting ( is that a word? ) in outdoor shots that included alot of sky? Overall, I thought the transfer was OK, however, on my display, I could see "noise" in sky shots.

    I was watching a disc rented in Toronto. I am not sure if we got the same R1 transfer up here that the reviewer was watching.

    As for the movie, this was the first ROMCOM in a long time that I have watched stone cold sober ( new clean living kick as my doc says I have to lose some weight.). I really could have used a couple of beers to get through this one. If this is indicative of what this genre has to offer, then I suspect that chickflick night at my house is going to become harder on me.

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