Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker, SEX AND THE CITY) has a highly unusual job in this at times cartoonish romantic comedy: she's an interventionist. What this means is that parents of young men who are still living at home well into adulthood can hire her to date their sons, which lends the often troubled men the fortitude to strike out on their own. Trip (Matthew McConaughey) seemingly fits this description perfectly; a 35-year-old extreme sports enthusiast and boat salesman, he uses his living situation to quickly end any relationship that becomes too serious. Trip's doting mother (Kathy Bates) and quirky father (former quarterbackTerry Bradshaw) hire Paula at their friends' adamant recommendation, and she sets about her tried-and-true method of winning Trip over. A few obstacles emerge, however, as Trip's buddy Ace (Justin Bartha) finds out the truth, and must be bribed by a date with Paula's hilariously hostile roommate Kit (Zooey Deschanel). Paula also discovers a few things about Trip's past that make her realize how different he is from the rest of her clients, but just as she begins to develop real feelings for him, disaster strikes.
Though somewhat meandering in its plotline, some of the best and funniest moments in FAILURE TO LAUNCH are provided by its supporting cast. Deschanel provides dry, intelligent humor in a subplot involving a mockingbird that's taken up residence outside her window, as well as her courtship by adoring suitor Ace. Bates as usual gives a complex performance, doing much with the part provided for her, while a game Bradshaw is appealing in his eccentricities. The film's somewhat fantastical plot is quickly eclipsed by the charm of the characters, the irresistible slapstick humor, and, in the end, heartwarming sentiment and lessons learned.