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Overall Rating
2.57

Awesome: 2.04%
Worth A Look: 8.16%
Average: 40.82%
Pretty Bad42.86%
Total Crap: 6.12%

6 reviews, 13 user ratings


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Catch and Release
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by William Goss

"Hook, Line, and Stinker"
2 stars

Tenuous, tedious and typical in every respect, 'Catch and Release' resembles an aimless Zach Braff melodramedy – reveling in moments of bland discomfort set to the perpetually strumming guitar strings of its alt-rock soundtrack – if left to marinate in a puddle of estrogen since its original release date last spring.

On the day of what should have been her wedding ceremony, Gray (Jennifer Garner, TV's "Alias") instead finds herself hosting a wake for quasi-groom Grady, following a tragic bachelor party accident (the nature of which is never quite apparent, but think outdoors more than whores). She soon moves in with pals Dennis (Sam Jaeger, Lucky Number Slevin) and Sam (Kevin 'Silent Bob' Smith), not to mention Grady’s crass buddy, Fritz (Timothy Olyphant, "Deadwood"), who is only lingering around to cover up Grady’s hush-hush association with a hippie masseuse (Juliette Lewis, Starsky & Hutch) and find himself inexorably drawn to Gray, in spite of their residual tension and that cooling corpse.

The trauma drama meshes uneasily with rom-com pitfalls and sitcom pratfalls, making Catch and Release every bit as rocky as its Boulder, CO scenery, a town that seemingly exists as an oasis for the mellow and lovelorn. Even the suicide attempts there are passive, nigh nonchalant, and as such, Gray and company get to wax nostalgic over the late Grady, deal with his unearthed skeletons, confess many a crush to one another, confront the mother-in-law-to-be (Fiona Shaw of the Harry Potter films), and otherwise cope in the endless Colorado sunshine. However, a striking backdrop does in no way compensate for nearly two hours of episodic seriocomic antics, where characters barely known (we see Gray at her vague occupation; Grady’s face remains as obscure as his fate) either a) mope around, b) joke around, or c) recite a veritable smorgasbord of sage advice off boxes of Celestial Seasonings whilst they await the next batch of contrivances and clichés.

Being her directorial debut, screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, In Her Shoes) finds herself itself juggling about three genres and ultimately succeeding in none, resulting in a maudlin romantic dramedy about life and love after death that’s just as muddled as 2005’s similar Elizabethtown, and while it’s admirable in a world of perfunctory high-concept rom-coms that Grant tries to ground her characters in the real world, dealing with real situations, she never fails to sabotage herself by reminding us just how much we’re not, in fact, like them at all, particularly when the obligatory romance – complete with a scene of her slapping him, him stopping her, them smooching one another – comes into play.

Garner nearly qualifies as a placeholder for where a real actress should be, as her sheer adequacy makes her nice enough to commiserate with, but never substantial enough to relate to; Olyphant is as oily as ever in a role that deserves a bit more compassion; and the positively vanilla Jaeger hangs around simply to make for one of those critical third-act misunderstandings that leads unlikely partners A and B to have the requisite falling-out and climactic reconciliation. All that remains are Smith, who sports his own off-screen wardrobe and grieves by way of gluttony in nearly every scene, and Lewis, who manages to make her one-note role a bit more amusing than she has any right to be. It’s not that her ditz deserves a movie of her own, but relatively speaking, any scene featuring either Lewis and/or Smith can’t help but resemble a highlight, as they tend to make for the film’s most tolerable moments.

Considering how ham-handed as its titular fly-fishing metaphor is, might I suggest that watching 'Catch and Release' is more like an overlong soak in an especially lukewarm bath, an experience that leaves one pruny and eager to dry off as soon as they can. Those more keen on anything akin to a chick flick may as well wait a couple of months for this bittersweet symphony to hit DVD so they may cuddle up on the couch and share the experience with their own favorite guy friends, Ben and Jerry.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15456&reviewer=409
originally posted: 01/29/07 18:36:01
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2006 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/31/13 jcar a very good comedy/drama with enough laughs and charm to keep into the movie 4 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT A ROMANTIC COMEDY THAT FLOUNDERS AND FIZZLES WITH BAD ACTING AND UNAPPEALING CHARACTERS 1 stars
5/18/08 Jack Sommersby Passable enough with nice performances. 3 stars
12/17/07 gr I can't decide between "meh" and "pointless" 2 stars
11/27/07 ES I enjoyed it 4 stars
7/27/07 Savannah I LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH. GREAT END 5 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini Garner looks hot in this! 3 stars
3/24/07 Amy Grunt What Doug, 3 guys in love w/ Gray? Counting or not counting the dead one? 2 stars
3/23/07 Monica Jo Hicks Never a good sign when best line and only comic relief is "It looks like a Tampax box!" 1 stars
3/23/07 Wendy Carpenter NAPALM -- Never A Painless And Lulling Moment! 1 stars
2/20/07 Tiffany cute, funny 4 stars
2/03/07 Thomas Owens Definitely worth a look 4 stars
1/29/07 Brian Mckay Garner cute and annoying, Smith fat and annoying, Lewis SUPER annoying. Script is a mess. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Jan-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-May-2007

UK
  23-Mar-2007
  DVD: 23-Jul-2007

Australia
  N/A (M)




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