Worth A Look: 4.84%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 74.19%
3 reviews, 44 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
At the very end of Summer Catch, the latest Prinze/Lillard wonkfest, I was exposed to one of the most shocking and harrowing sights I've ever seen in a film. Nothing I've ever seen in 2,000 horror movies ever shook me like the last five minutes of this film. Sincerely, I almost wept.It's not bad enough that Freddie Prinze Jr. gets to have a career as a major movie "star", even though every one of his projects sucks more monkey butt than the one before it. If his very onscreen existence weren't enough of an affront to the senses, NOW I'll always have to carry around the vision of Prinze wearing the uniform of my beloved Philadelphia Phillies.
"If it were just a little bit better, it would be unwatchable."
Freddie Prinze. In a Phillies uniform. What could be worse? I'll tell you what could be worse. It rhymes with buthing.
Oh, the movie. Well, if you've ever seen one (1) episode of any random TV show, then you've seen Summer Catch already. For those who are new to the world of "fiction", here's what passes for an "original screenplay" these days:
Local-boy makes good.
Boom. There's your movie. Of course it might help if I described the local boy as a "baseball player" but that's more descriptive than the screenplay is. I don't feel that I should have to work harder than the screenwriter.
The local boy is a pitcher, and he's feeling rather insecure on a team full of phenoms and future all-stars. Local boy is also poor, which means that (A) his father is a drunk and MUST be played by Fred Ward, (B) he has a gaggle of pothead buddies and slutty girlfriends and (C) he MUST fall in love with the stunningly curvy "rich girl on vacation, complete with rich white Daddy".
If you're wondering "Hmmm, I wonder if local boy thwarts evil white Daddy, beds the busty debutante, backs up buddies in a bar brawl and wins the big game despite being a petulant jackoff..." then Summer Catch is the movie for you. Or if you're a 14-year old girl who considers the shaved ape that is Freddie Prinze Jr. "like soooo cute". Those girls will probably like it too.
In the interest of maintaining the status quo running time of 80-some minutes, we are subjected to a painfully ugly series of subplots and side characters. Fine young actress Brittany Murphy is relegated to a shockingly thankless performance as the town whore. How nice. A solid portion of the film is devoted solely to the humiliation and denigration of overweight women, or as Lillard repeatedly (and cleverly) refers to them: "Fatties". Isn't it nice to know that whenever a poor writer has nowhere to go, he can just point at fatty and sneer?
The main problem (aside from the tic-tac-toe screenplay) is simply that Freddie Prinze Jr. is expected to portray a character with a mean temper when in fact Freddie Prinze Jr. is unable to portray any emotion that begins or ends in a consonant. You could set Freddie on fire, and I doubt he could adequately convey "something warm".
And let's not leave out Prinze's good buddy Matthew Lillard. What kind of universe is this that Corey Haim and Corey Feldman are (justifiably) ridiculed yet Prinze and Lillard keep getting paychecks and free nookie? I weep. As in all his performances, Lillard is pulsatingly, gratingly awful. Were it not for the massive vein in his forehead and his constant spittle showers, Lillard would offer no entertainment value at all.
Veteran character actors Fred Ward, Brian Dennehy and Bruce Davison show up looking for a quick paycheck and they each get one noun and one adjective. Ward is "drunk dad", Dennehy is "obese coach", Davison is "rich asshole".
I'm not sure which division of market testing it would fall under, but here's a quick piece of advice for all of Hollywood: Prinze and Lillard are skinny and therefore need not ever be shown wearing thongs or ladies' underwear. It happened about four times in this film and I sincerely think that's 4 times more than the universe is prepared to accept. Make it into a song if that makes it easier:
Lillard in tights,
That's not right
Prinze in thong,
That's just wrong
In the interest of full hottie disclosure, I will mention the performance by Jessica Biel as Rich Girl. She looks like a young Catherine Zeta-Jones only with less silicone and more smiles. She's probably the least awful thing in this movie, and that's no easy task.
I intentionally neglected to mention the subplot involving an older woman who repeatedly inserts vegetables into her private regions. I'm still wondering how something that ugly made its way into a PG-13 movie. A lot could be forgiven if this particular plot thread were even remotely amusing, as opposed to what it currently is: stupid, pointless and humiliatingly amateurish.
Hey, just like the whole movie!Seeing Freddie Prinze Jr. in a Phillies uniform is similar to discovering that Cameron Diaz a penis. That I had to sit through this terminally familiar and dreary tripe to witness such a shocking travesty is one of my life's most annoying moments.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3903&reviewer=128
originally posted: 12/12/01 20:38:48