Trip (Matthew McConaughey) is a 35-year-old boat broker who happily resides in an assisted living facility where he is served fresh pancakes and bacon with warmed syrup and all of his clothes are cleaned, neatly folded, and placed on his bed. All aspects of his domestic arrangements are handled cheerfully by a devoted staff of two who are dedicated to his happiness and on call 24/7. They are his parents.
Mom (Kathy Bates) and Dad (Terry Bradshaw) love their son. They do everything for him, just as they always have. He even uses them to break up relationships with girls who get that look, the one that shows they’re thinking about making plans for the future. He brings them home, and when they see that he still lives with his folks, they can’t find the door fast enough.
Trip has all the pleasures of being a grown-up and none of the responsibilities. He has two friends who also live with their parents who go rock-climbing and paint-balling with him and lots of dates. But his parents, much as they love him, would like some time for themselves. They hire Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), an “interventionist” recommended by friends.
She crisply informs them that she will proceed according to a well-established formula designed to show Trip that he is ready to take on the responsibilities of adulthood. She will pretend to like what he likes, give him the opportunity to comfort her and to teach her something, earn the support of his friends, and voila — he will be ready for a delayed but successful launch.
But Trip turns out to be very different from the usual Trekkers and gear-heads she is used to coaxing into the world. Confidence and social skills are not the problem. What she finds out will leave her in need of an intervention herself.
This is a bright and bouncy date movie with some sharp lines and even sharper performances, especially from Bates and Bradshaw. The movie works a little too hard to convince us that just because Trip lives at home does not mean he isn’t completely manly — he is constantly shown climbing rocks, racing, shooting, sailing, or with his shirt off. And a recurring theme of animal bites (no kidding) really doesn’t work. The movie underuses the marvelous Zooey Deschanel in an underwritten “best friend” role. The big climactic scene is over-the-top, even within the romantic comedy genre. Both leads are a little too old for their parts (Deschanel would have been a more appealing Paula), but the energy and wisecracks keep us interested and the appeal of the characters and performers keep us involved. The movie’s take-off is as precarious as that of its main character, but the launch is successful.
Parents should know that the movie has some strong language (swearing, one f-word), non-sexual nudity (bare tush), and sexual references and non-explicit situations. Characters drink and one drinks frequently, possibly to excess. There is comic peril and violence, including spills and animal bites.
Families who see this movie should talk about how parents can teach their children to be independent. Why was it hard for Kit to let herself be happy?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Agatha Christie stories about Parker Pyne, who is often called in to solve the kinds of problems Paula tackles in this film.