Sarah Jessica Parker had better figure out her next career move. Her resume pre-“Sex and the City” isn’t exactly stellar (notable exceptions being her roles in Ed Wood and L.A. Story) and her work since then has been more or less trading off the success of that show. Matthew McConaughey too is in need of a career redefinition. After his iconic role as Wooderson in Dazed and Confused it’s been a mix of romantic comedies and ill-advised dramatic roles in things like U-571.
So neither of them are exactly stretching their artistic muscles in Failure to Launch. McConaughey plays a 30-something guy who still lives with his parents and sees absolutely nothing wrong with that. Since he has no desire to change the situation his parents, played by Kathy Bates and football great Terry Bradshaw, hire Parker. She’s a specialist in helping people start their lives and she pretends to fall in love with him so he has a reason to move out of the house. Complications, of course, ensue when the two actually do fall in love. Oh, did I ruin it for you? If so you’ve obviously never been to the movies before.
Just a quick bit about the title: First of all, it sets itself up for all sorts of scathing and witty uses within the terrible reviews the movie is likely to receive. Secondly, I wonder how much the creators purposely chose it for the immediate conotations of…ummm…erectile dysfunction? Seems like they were hoping people would make that slightly off-color assumption about the movie and are hoping that will create buzz. That’s just speculation but it feels right.
Having Wooderson leaning back on his heels on a poster isn’t exactly new ground. The same pose was used for the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days one-sheet. Did the marketers at Paramount know this? I would hope so since HTLAGI10D was also a Paramount production. And even if there’s a whole new team there did Wooderson himself see it and think, “Haven’t I seen this somewhere before?” Parker looks very Carrie Bradshaw-esque in her girly pink sundress. The little bird or whatever that’s trailing off at the end of the title just plays up the can’t-get-it-up association.
Very bouncy and upbeat but as thin as a FEMA-built levee. It couldn’t make the movie look more like a Hostess Cupcake if it was trying. The plot is setup pretty nicely with everyone’s roles put right out in the open. Wooderson is a shiftless, womanizing layabout who’d aided and abetted by a group of friends that includes Bradley Cooper (“Alias”). His parents are loving but want him out in the worst way. Parker is the professional who questions her professionalism after beginning a relationship with her client. It leaves very little to the imagination but then again it’s probably in Paramount’s best interest if the movie is laid bare for all to see.
There’s all the usual content you’d expect on the site. “About the Film” has exactly what every other site has when it comes to information on the movie. The “Photo Gallery” is, you know, a photo gallery. You’ll find buddy icons, wallpapers and a screensaver in “Downloads.” Finally “Trailer” is the trailer. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
The only interesting things (and by interesting I just mean the only non-common features) on the site can be found under “Special Features.” First up is 10 Easy Steps to Get Him Out Of the House. That’s a series of film clips that show just what criteria Parker’s character uses to make sure her job is going according to plan. Next is Roommates Vs. Parents, which seems to be a personality quiz of sorts that determines which side of the struggle you identify more closely with. Third is the How To Tell If He Still Lives At Home quiz for the ladies to see if their man still lives with Mommy and Daddy. Lastly in this section is Tripp’s Top 10 Lists that spell out all the advantages of being a freeloading slacker. There’s also a section on the promotional partners Paramount (I love aliteration) signed up. SuperCuts, PerfectMatch.com, Hilton and Baskin Robbins all are represented here.
I don’t know what more can be done to market a romantic comedy, especially one that doesn’t include a Wilson brother or Vince Vaughn. Most of the movies are so formulaic they may as well be assigned numbers for studios to order like value meals at McDonalds. Usually the poster at least is a little original but even this is derivative of a previous work. Couple that with the trailer and website and it’s three up and three down. Disappointing.
movie marketing, paramount pictures