Thursday, July 06, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW - "Failure to Launch"

* As usual, I begin by stating that my only qualifications as a reviewer extend no further than my love of comics, television and film. I'm not an academic, when it comes to this particular topic. I just talk about what I like and what I don't like. *

Any potential spoilers in my reviews must be highlighted to be visible.
Plot Outline: "Failure to Launch" is a romantic comedy about a 35-year-old man, played by Matthew McConaughey, who lives with his parents, but attempts to maintain a social life - most notably with Sarah Jessica Parker's character.

The Good -
* the playful tone
* SJP's screams

The Bad (or just not so good) -
* an odd twist on an mildly interesting premise

The Story
This story is a bit of a stretch but, despite being mildly reminiscent of a certain Will Smith flick and another movie with the words "40-year-old" in the title, once we settle into the quirky tone and delivery of this comedic romance, it almost kinda sorta works.

35-year-old, fit, attractive man-
* lives with his parents.
* dates women.

* hi-jinks ensue.

The Acting
Everyone sold their characters well.

McConaughey's looks are somewhat distracting, as a bit of homeliness helps the audience buy into the implied "loser" status of a grown man still living with his parents. However, this movie attempts to neuter the loser element in a couple of ways and it does so fairly well.

Again I say that once you're in-sync with this movie's tone, you buy into the characters (and the acting) a lot more easily.

The Storytelling
I'm more convinced than ever that, once you decide that you'll see a movie, you should forego any and all advertising, interviews, and promotions associated with said venture.


Because you can squeeze a helluva lot more enjoyment out of a mediocre-plus flick, when you haven't already seen all the funniest parts or had the twists ruined by desperate marketing techniques (i.e. spoiling by ad).

In this case, there were a number of story elements that surprised me, but not my girlfriend. This was probably due to the fact that I decided, early on, that this movie wasn't for me. She, on the other hand, absorbed much more information, as she was seriously considering seeing this movie.

The result?

I used my Blockbuster Movie Pass and scooped up a flick that I knew very little about and, I daresay, enjoyed it a bit more than someone already familiar with and invested in the concept.

All that and I've barely addressed how poorly or how well they told the story, right?

Well, it's a quirky, romantic comedy that just works... unless you're expecting anything from it, so I thought this space would be better used telling you that than telling you how well the jokes fly.

This isn't the most fair statement I've ever made in a movie review, but...

How much you get out of this movie is directly proportionate to how little you put into it.

Yes, but don't spend or expect much.

Faint praise, eh? It's just a fun little movie.
If you know that going in and you're okay with it, you'll be fine.

* Feel free to share questions or comments (with spoiler-warnings, as necessary, if you please). *


Remnants of U said...

I enjoyed the movie as well. I saw it in the theater, and I went to it expecting a comedy and was not disappointed. Terry Bradshaw makes me laugh when he is talking football with his group & he had me cracking up in the movie. Once again you did a great job reviewing the movie. In my opinion better than some of the "professionals."

West said...

You bring up a good point.

Bradshaw, who is NOT your typical actor, really held his own in this movie and I was remiss in not highlighting that fact.

...and I'm not talking about that stuff at the end, either. ;p

(Thanks for the compliments, by the way. I'm trying.)

princessdominique said...

Sounds like I'm going to want to see this one! You're developing the great one stop movie review center here West.

Luke Cage said...

Hey man, just stopping by. I didn't know you were into comicbooks and movies. 2 of my favorite subjects. I just posted a topic that may be right up your alley with Oscar worthy actors. I'd like to get your view on that. Let me know what you think. Peace man!

West said...

princess: I look forward to reading your thoughts about it.
(And thanks.)

luke cage: Welcome!
Yeah. My interests are all over the place - from philosophizing to movie watching and just about everything in-between.

I'll try to take a look at your post, soon.