Paramount's "Failure to Launch" #1 At The Box Office
A Romantic Comedy Is What People Want To See
Matthew McConaughey Talks About Possible Correlations With His Character
By: Stephanie R. Green
Arts & Entertainment Journalist
New York, NY March 14, 2006 - Paramount
Pictures romantic comedy “Failure to
Launch” unexpectedly took the box office by
storm, coming in at number 1 with an
estimated weekend gross of $24.6.
The film is directed by Tom Dey and
produced by Scott Rudin and Scott Aversan,
and stars Matthew McConaughey as Tripp,
the 35 year old unlaunchable; Sarah Jessica
Parker as Paula, a launch consultant; Kathy
Bates as Sue and Terry Bradshaw as Al, the
parents of Tripp; Zooey Deschanel as Kit,
Paula’s best friend; Justin Bartha as Ace and
Bradley Cooper as Demo, Tripp’s best
friends since childhood.
"Failure to Launch" is a story that centers on
Tripp who is comfortable residing at home
with his parents.
As far as Tripp is concerned, “what isn’t
broke should not be fixed”, life at home is
free, he has a great room, his mom cleans
after him, cooks and does all of his laundry,
and to him it’s like having a great hotel.
Now, his desperate parents Sue and Al have
hired a consultant whose specialty is
removing grown men from their parents’
The fun and comedy begin with Tripp and
Paula and all of the antics that follow them,
the parents and the friends.
I sat down to talk with Matthew about his role
and some of our conversation follows.
What about the script inspired you
to take on Tripp’s character?
McConaughey: "Main thing was I
read the script and laughed out loud
and I don’t do that very often, besides
being a romantic comedy it was
heavy comedy. It was a little more
comedy than most romantic
comedies, so all of the comedy
wasn’t necessarily based on just the
guy/girl relationship. The scenario
was still there, the mischief, and the
tricks that the two were playing on
each other were still there. But, it
also was a guy that I found that I said
instead of playing the character like a
guy who had thought he had a
problem, he doesn’t think he’s got a
problem and that’s a lot more fun."
You’ve done many romantic
comedies, what are the challenges
for you to find something original
that you haven’t done before in a
McConaughey: "One of the things in
a romantic comedy that you have to
do and this is in some ways the
easiest part but then it becomes the
most challenging part is to keep it
light. You have to keep this character
like a boat skimming across the
surface. You have tendencies along
the way to take something very literal
and go no, no, no, no – I wouldn’t do
that, to think about it realistically, then
all of a sudden you’re into heavy
drama if you’re going to play it that
way and it doesn’t work in a movie
like this. You can’t go down that far
because it takes too much time to
get back up to the comedic pace of
the film and the narrative. So, in a
weird way the tough thing is to keep
Judging by the box office, a romantic
comedy is what people want to see,
so check your local theater listings to
find out what all the comedy is about.
Were you able to identify with your character, in other
words when did you leave home?
McConaughey: "I left home 2-weeks out of High School, I
left home the day I could and I went to Australia for a year
as an exchange student. In my family when you turned 18
that was sort of the right of passage to get out and get on
with life. I had a great family life but I was ready to go.".
Do you understand Tripp?
McConaughey: "The main place I understood the guy
was I looked at things like he had great relationships with
his parents and his friends, he’s a good friend to them, a
good son, he loves women. One of the reasons why that
was important and cool to me is that it would’ve been very
easy in this story to make it like the parents want to get
him out of the house because he’s a pain in the butt, well
he’s not. They like him there, he likes being there, and
they just want to get him out for other reasons. So, he
had healthy relationships with his parents and friends, he
enjoys going out with different wonderful women and then
something gets serious, (the set-up is great) he brings
them home, they meet an older couple, all of a sudden
they find out it’s mom and dad, they kind of do the
breaking up for him. Like I said if I brought anyone home
to my family it was because I really liked them not
because I wanted to get rid of them.".