Failure to Launch Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
“Once a parent, always a parent” may be a true adage but when your 35-year-old offspring is still underfoot, it’s time to hire a professional.
That’s where Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker) comes in.
She’s an “interventionist” who helps adult children overcome their failure to launch. With a self-developed, AA-like program, she builds a man’s confidence by pretending to fall in love with him. Working through the steps of meeting his friends, discovering his interests, and stroking his ego, she prepares the gullible slacker to pack his bags. If the guy stays on track, he is out of his parent’s home in no time.
Although it feels a little deceitful, Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates) are ready to do just about anything to get their son Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) and his steady stream of women out of the upstairs bedroom. After their friends use Paula’s specialized skills to launch their boy, Tripp’s parents decide to engage her services.
Following a staged first encounter in a furniture store, the consultant and her new, unsuspecting client are off and away. But when Tripp’s progress stalls a few weeks later and he tries to dump her before his send off, Paula breaks her cardinal rule about sleeping with a client.
Cardinal rule or not, detailed sexual comments and the suggestion of frequent, casual relationships are a mainstay of the script. Paula’s caustic (and seemingly alcoholic) roommate Kit (Zooey Deschanel) questions the wisdom of her physical affair with Tripp. Yet Kit is equally quick to become involved when Tripp’s nerdy, live-at-home buddy Ace (Justin Bartha) makes a move on her.
Unfortunately much of the movie’s humor is built on those intimate interactions as well as repeated shots of Al’s exposed buttocks. Another storyline played for laughs is Kit’s growing annoyance with a mockingbird outside her window. Unable to purchase a shotgun from the sporting store, Kit persuades Ace to help her shoot the bird with a BB gun.
Implying there’s an epidemic of grown-up freeloaders, the film does raise some timely topics about the transition both parents and kids face when it’s comes to fly the coop. While Sue seems anxious to have her son leave, her constant coddling of him in their upper-middle class manor would make any self-indulgent man happy to stay in the nest. Tripp also appears equally content to wile away his adulthood playing video games and extreme sports rather than take on commitment.
While these discussion starters keep the movie from completely failing to launch, the frequent profanities, heavy alcohol use and the irresponsible sexual behaviors will trip most families up long before they make it to the ticket office.Starring Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release March 9, 2006. Updated May 4, 2009
Failure to Launch
Rating & Content Info
Why is Failure to Launch rated PG-13? Failure to Launch is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content, partial nudity and language.
Opening with a bedroom scene, this film focuses on the casual, sexual behaviors of several characters, with no apparent consequences for their choices. The script also contains numerous discussions of sexual activities, a lesbian comment and scenes of passionate kissing. Buttock nudity is portrayed in a non-sexual context. Several of the characters often consume alcohol at home, in a restaurant and in public. They sometimes turn to liquor in times of stress and occasionally appear to be under the influence. Tripp and his friends seem to be afraid of commitment and instead spend their time pursuing athletic pastimes. During their games, Tripp is bitten by a chipmunk, dolphin and lizard. He also crashes when riding his mountain bike, falls while rock climbing, and is shot during a paint ball game. Frequent profanities including one use of an extreme sexual expletive are included.
Page last updated May 4, 2009
Failure to Launch Parents' Guide
Although Al and Sue are anxious to have Tripp out of the house, what opposing emotions does Sue experience at his leaving? What are her concerns? What relationship challenges might couples face when their last child leaves home and they become empty nesters?
How did Sue’s pampering hamper Tripp’s motivation to leave home? What responsibilities do you think parents should give older children who still live at home?
What effects could Tripp’s sexual behavior have on his future relationship with Paula? What consequences for his actions are not shown?
The most recent home video release of Failure to Launch movie is June 27, 2006. Here are some details…
Releasing to DVD in either wide (enhanced for 16:9 TVs) or full screen presentations, Failure to Launch offers the following bonus featurettes: Casting Off: The Making of Failure to Launch, The Failure to Launch Phenomenon, Dating in the New Millennium, and Moviefone.com Unscripted with Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw. The promotional materials The Failure To Launch Contest and the Theatrical Trailer are included as well. Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround Sound) and French (5.1 Surround Sound), with English and Spanish subtitles and closed-captioning for the hearing impaired.
Related home video titles:
Hiring a consultant is part of the plot in the movie Hitch as well, where men pay a “Date Doctor” to intervene in their love lives. In the film Marty, a thirty-something bachelor decides to look for a wife despite the advice of his buddies who think he should keep playing the field. Actor Matthew McConaughey also stars in Sahara, playing a relic hunter who finds love.