FAILURE TO LAUNCH
About The Production
According to Matthew McConaughey, the star of the new romantic comedy "Failure to Launch," his character, Tripp, has practical reasons for being a 35-year-old, all-American guy who's never moved out of his parents' house. "As far as Tripp's concerned, you don't fix what isn't broken," he says. "It's free, he's got a great room, and mom does the laundry. It's a great hotel."
Everything changes for Tripp when he meets Paula. She's everything that Tripp's looking for: smart, funny, talented, and beautiful. What Tripp doesn't know is that there's a good reason she's so perfect: a professional consultant, Paula has been hired by his parents to lure him out of the house.
"On paper, Tripp's case seems open-and-shut," says Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Paula. "Of course, when she meets him, that proves not to be the case. She finds a well-adjusted, educated, perfectly normal guy who's 50 billion times more handsome than her other clients, but for some reason, he just can't get out the door."
Recently named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, McConaughey notes that his character's predicament reflects the reality for many twenty- and thirtysomethings in America today. "It's a social phenomenon: even though kids are getting older, they aren't moving out," he notes.
"I read a lot of articles about this trend before making the movie," says director Tom Dey. "It was very funny to discover these new sociological terms that apply to adult children still living at home: 'adultescents,' 'the boomerang generation,' 'failure to launch,' etc. I also like the fact that it's a universal phenomenon - everyone knows somebody who's still living at home well past the age when most people move out. My hope is that we've been able to tap into the funny bone of this familial trend."
A thirtysomething adult living at home is not uncommon these days. It's a phenomenon that's been explored in the pages of USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Newsweek, and countless television and newspaper stories. For Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, who've amassed dozens of credits as writers for television comedy, the project began by looking at Ember's suburban Los Angeles neighbors.
"I have several neighbors who have adult children who now live with them," remarks Ember. "I found it interesting and was surprised when I found out that it's becoming the norm."
"We started talking about this idea of adults living at home with their parents and how the situation would impact everyone involved," adds Astle. "We always wondered how would you get them out of the house. Then, we complicated matters by introducing the haphazard world of dating into the mix and it worked. It turned out to be a funny, timely idea for a comedy."
For Dey, "Failure to Launch" presented a great opportunity to make a romantic comedy that could work on several levels at once. "It has a very classic, almost Billy Wilder-esque set-up in that the central relationship is based on a deceit. But there's a turn in the movie where it begins to operate on a deeper emotional level. These variations in tone from comedy to drama make for a very enjoyable story to watch. For example, toward the end of the film, there's a scene at a dinner table in which Tripp has a bomb to drop. The tension and humor builds; as Tripp pulls the rug out from underneath the people who have deceived him, his emotional pain registers underneath the comedy."
Director Tom Dey says that much of the fun of "Failure to Launch" stems from the chemistry and confrontations between Tripp and Paula. "Tripp isn't passive about the fact that he lives at home - he champions not having left the nest! Conversely, Paula knows that 'failure to launch' is a real problem - and she's the cure. The more each character is convinced of his or her
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