Monday, September 21, 2015

Failure to Launch

Year 7, Day 264 - 9/21/15 - Movie #2,156

BEFORE: You may notice that I'm skipping over several romance-based films in this McConnaughey chain, like "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days", "The Wedding Planner" and "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past".  There are two reasons for this, mainly that I don't have copies of those films, or much interest in obtaining them.  Secondly, even if I did have copies, those seem like they belong in the February chain.  But I just got my whole February linking mapped out, and I can't accommodate all of those - but based on which films are currently running on premium cable, I'd say that most likely just ONE of those three films will be making an appearance in the Valentine's Day chain, providing a vital link between a Jennifer Lopez film and another film, but already I've said too much. 

McConnaughey Chain Day 5, and everything is still all right, all right, all right...this film was re-located from the December chain, since I no longer need it to help link from my Christmas films ("The Family Stone") to "Star Wars: Episode VII" via "Interstellar".  Yeah, I screwed up big-time on that one.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.

THE PLOT:  A thirtysomething slacker suspects his parents of setting him up with his dream girl so he'll finally vacate their home.

AFTER: I was ready to write this one off as just a silly bit of fluff, which it mainly is, but it's really about deception, people pretending to be someone they're not, and that puts it in line more with films like "Deathtrap" or "Disclosure" than with simple romance movies.  Actually maybe it's better to say it's more like "Down With Love" or "Return to Me", two other films that got moved out of the month of romance simply because I needed them for linking purpose.  Really, it was all intentional, see, because I was building on a theme of deception in relationships - yeah, that's it. 

The deception here is that a woman hires herself out as an "Interventionist" - she builds up the confidence of men who are still living with their parents, by dating them, but she doesn't sleep with them.  She just leads them along long enough for them to get their act together and move out on their own (ostensibly with the idea they'll be living with her?) and then after a proper grace period, she breaks up with them.  God, there's so much that's logically and morally wrong with this concept. 

Morally, it's all about lying to her clients.  (Wait, I guess her clients are the men's parents, so she lies to her clients sons.)  Let's also point out that she gets PAID for dating particular men, but not sleeping with them, because then she'd be a whore.  She's a paid surrogate girlfriend who does NOT sleep with the men, so then she's a professional teaser.  Either way, there's something not right here.  Logically, it doesn't work either because when she breaks up with them (assuming you buy into this equation of "confidence = living alone" and "non-confidence = living with your parents") they could be so devastated that they'll move back home, which would be counter-productive, or so depressed that they could want to harm themselves.  Again, something's not right with the business plan. 

Whatever is interesting here comes only after her deception, first to his friends (each of whom wants something for himself in exchange for keeping the secret) and then to Tripp himself, which allows him to pull off another deception to get back at her and his parents.  Because, really, in the end, isn't all this lying and betrayal so much easier than parents saying to their son, "Tripp, maybe it's time you got your own apartment."  This is a major-league NITPICK POINT, and the mere fact that the film itself questions why this conversation doesn't take place does not excuse the fact that this conversation does not take place. 

Look, people move back home for a number of reasons.  Sometimes it's financial, sometimes they just really enjoy spending time with their parents (yeah, right...) and sometimes they've had some kind of personal setback that prevents them from getting their act together.  Suffice it to say that there is a reason our man Tripp is living with his parents, but that is revealed later.  We get to spend the first half of the film just thinking he's a slacker or a loser, and that in fact is selling him short.

But it's a shame that it takes the efforts of all his friends and family to engineer the situation so that he and his lady can have an honest conversation together - because again, this takes place on a planet where people just don't seem to talk honestly face to face - so that once all of the deceptions are removed, they can determine if there's a real relationship hiding underneath.  Perhaps there's a larger metaphor here for people putting on personas and not revealing their true selves, but I kind of doubt it.

Everything else in the film is really unnecessary, mostly "Network Time Killers".  All of the extreme sports with slapstick accidents, all of the times people are bitten by various animals, the whole bit with the noisy songbird, it's all just filler, filler, filler.  Like you can see the foundation of the house and the way they built the framework, and then someone just decided to decorate all of the rooms in a really weird way. 

Also starring Sarah Jessica Parker (last seen in "Miami Rhapsody"), Kathy Bates (last seen in "Revolutionary Road"), Terry Bradshaw (last seen in "Smokey and the Bandit II"), Bradley Cooper (last heard in "Guardians of the Galaxy"), Justin Bartha (last seen in "The Hangover Part III"), Zooey Deschanel (last seen in "Our Idiot Brother"), Tyrel Jackson Williams, Katheryn Winnick, with cameos from Rob Corddry (last seen in "The Way Way Back"), Patton Oswalt (last seen in "22 Jump Street"), Stephen Tobolowksy (last seen in "Bird on a Wire"), Peter Jacobson.

RATING: 4 out of 10 shotgun shells

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