Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at:

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

Failure to Launch

This “Failure” started with poor casting

How, possibly, could a film billed as a romantic comedy be anything less than a failure if it fails in its preeminent duty to provide some level of romance? Based on the lack of any palpable chemistry between its leads, “Failure to Launch,” either by unintended design or by a gross misunderstanding of what causes sparks to fly, becomes primarily a gag-heavy film.

And with the rate the jokes are foisted on the audience, a few of them (most involving animals) are bound to stick and provoke some chuckles. Its basic math: keep the jokes coming and people will forget were supposed to root for the love interests. One sight that does linger is the unfortunate sight of former footballer Terry Bradshaws bare behind. It is shown not once, not twice, but three times. In case we miss it.

“Failure to Launch” stars Matthew McConaughey as Trip, a 35-year-old man-child who’s still living at home. Sarah Jessica Parker is Paula, an “Interventionist” hired by Trip’s parents (Bradshaw and Kathy Bates). They hope their boy will fall for Paula and renounce his selfish, slacker, immature lifestyle and move out– a flawed hypothesis that assumes that real love will make a man grow up.

McConaughey has covered this territory before. He had far more chemistry with Kate Hudson (who is a better comic actress than Parker) in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Though still hunky as all get out, McConaughey’ versatility– like his complexion seems increasingly weathered. He can’ lift mediocre material alone. Without any sizzle between the main couple, the film wisely interjects a variety of bits where Trip falls prey to an assortment of angry creatures. In addition, there’ screen time for Paula’s quirky, mockingbird-stalking roommate Kit, played delightfully by Zooey Deschanel.

“Failure to Launch” finishes predictably, which means the two leads get together even though by rights they shouldn’t. Quietly, we were hoping maybe Kit might make a move on Trip because that would have been a much more interesting movie.

Grade: C+
Rated PG-13 for 1 prominent

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