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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

weekend box office: failure to launch? alas, not so much


one possible explanation for all the
asses in seats for ‘failure to launch’

Horrendous reviews aside, Failure to Launch failed to live up to its name and took in a respectable $24.6 million this weekend. Perhaps it’s because the film avoids hard realities that it was so successful. As Monsters and Critics explains it:

It was important to portray [star Matthew McConaughey’s] character as a normal all-American guy with friends and a good job instead of a loser-slacker type, he says in his South Texas twang. ‘It’s funnier and more truthful if you can go in and be a guy’s guy. You don’t have to take everything literally and completely seriously, but give the guy some huevos.’

Funnier? Maybe. But hardly more truthful to pretend that 30somethings living at home are well-off sailboat brokers like McConaughey’s Tripp rather than hard-up hardworking types who just can’t get a break in this lousy economy.

A distant second in the box-office race was the limp Disney remake The Shaggy Dog, earning $16 million. Why did anyone see this film? That’s a far more interesting question than anything the movie itself explores. Daniel Fienberg at Zap2it says:

In my dream remake of “The Shaggy Dog,” Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze and either Jim Carrey or Nicolas Cage, explore the utter absurdity and madness that would accompany a normal family man being transformed into a confused canine, delving into the character’s newfound animalistic desires, his dramatically reversed power relationship to the world and his disturbing new dependency on his wife and children.

The Tim Allen flick is, sad to say, not that film.



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