Anyone who enjoys movies keeps a secret tally of any movie's strengths and weaknesses. Like an Olympic judge rating an athlete's performance, the final score determines whether a movie rates a recommendation or is forgotten as an also-ran.
As far as formula fare goes, one could do worse than the above-middlin' romantic comedy Failure To Launch starring Matthew McConaughey as a 30-something who still lives with his folks (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) until they hire a motivationalist (Sarah Jessica Parker) to help him fly the nest. Naturally and against all odds, McConaughey's and Parker's completely artificial relationship blossoms into something more. Here's how I broke it down:
First, it's funny. Not just an occasional giggle, sit-com kind of funny but infused throughout funny. TV vets Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember, who are attached to this year's Steve Carell update of Get Smart, may be green as screenwriters, this being their first project produced, but with that inexperience comes a kind of hunger. Of course, most first-timers become well-fed and lazy after a taste of success like this, but for now, proof of their talent is apparent. Each character is created with a specific purpose, as is every scene, sequence and act. It's all very textbook, but it works. Mark one in the "plus" column.