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|Index||104 reviews in total|
I saw "Catch and Release" a couple of months ago, the first screening,
writer-director Susannah Grant said, of the final cut. It was a very
friendly audience, but watching the movie, I couldn't help but feel
Grant could have and should have done better.
The film opens promisingly, teasing us and playing with our expectations as we first see Gray (Jennifer Garner) and the circumstances she finds herself in. However, Grant never quite builds on that initial promise and soon "Catch and Release" meanders into traditional romantic comedy territory, complete with the obligatory playful and lovable sidekick - in this case, Sam (Kevin Smith) - and the friend harboring a romantic secret of his own, Dennis (Sam Jaeger).
The crux of the story is Gray's realization that her life is being turned upside down because of what she finds out about a loved one. And - I'm giving away no secrets here, because it is, after all, a romantic comedy - the blossoming romance between her and Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), who at first is seemingly wrong for her. But wanna guess if that will change?
The star of the film is undoubtedly Garner. Just as she did in "13 Going on 30" (2004), she again takes what should be a pedestrian film and boosts it considerably with her undeniable charm. She has a smile that melts the hardest heart and although "Catch and Release" can never shake its conventions, whenever the film entertains, it's mostly because of Garner. She imbues Gray with a vulnerability that's utterly convincing.
Smartly, Grant also gives Smith - essentially playing himself with cleaner language - the film's funniest lines. They're not anything novel, but it's typical Kevin Smith. She also tags on a romantic interest for Sam. It's no surprise, because Grant cannot break the shackles of the genre for something original. You can see the pairing long before it actually happens on screen.
Juliette Lewis seems an oddity in this film. I've not seen her in a film for years and her character tends to grate a bit. Lewis is a good actress, but she seems to get typecast in these off-kilter roles and there's an unmistakable sense we've seen this performance from her before.
Olyphant plays sleazy well - just watch him in the otherwise-forgettable "The Girl Next Door" (2004). In "Catch and Release," his caddish boor actually is a facade. Turns out, this chap's actually a nice guy. He has to be. After all, he has Gray to win over and Grant's doing this by-the-numbers.
And therein lies the film's problem. Despite Grant's admirable attempt to spin the romantic comedy's meet-cute moment, it's hard to believe Gray would fall for a chap who, for the lack of a better phrase, finds carnal comfort at the most unlikely occasions.
Of course, "Catch and Release" has a certain sweetness about it. How can it not when Garner's so adorable. It's polished, looks good; a cut above, say, the odd independent romcoms that tackle the trials and tribulations, the angst and adoration among a group of good friends. But it offers nothing new and relies on a few too many "movie" moments to elicit laughs. Some of those moments are funny, but you get the impression they're not exactly rooted in any realm of reality. Yet, Grant seems to want to lend her story a sense of reality, one that deals with love, loss and forgiveness.
Grant said when she recut her film, she was forced to excise some of Fritz's back story. It doesn't seem warranted, but there seems to be something missing from Fritz. We know the story's moving to get Gray and Fritz together - this is a freakin' Hollywood studio-produced romantic comedy, after all - but it all seems too orchestrated from the beginning.
Is it too much to ask a Hollywood romantic-comedy writer to be even slightly daring? Hollywood-produced romantic comedies, by their very nature, are predictable. You know going in the girl and the guy will wind up together, so it's the journey that is supposed to thrill us. Maybe even surprise us. Grant, however, chooses the safest, and therefore, least surprising, path. She hits all the points a screen writing guru without an ounce of originality would demand be seen in a romcom script. The only novelty here is that Grant got some attractive, appealing and talented actors for her directorial debut. It is they who keep this extremely conventional story from turning unbearable. Though, even Garner's considerable cuteness cannot salvage the film's ending.
Kevin Smith was definitely the comic relief in this movie. According to Smith, he claims that he can't act and that's why he plays Silent Bob. I say -- NOT TRUE!!! Kevin Smith was perfect as "Sam" and his acting was very good. Jennifer Garner is always a pleasure to watch. She always plays her characters true to form and this movie was no different. I had a bit of a problem with Timothy Olyphant's character, Fritz. There was definitely something missing from the way he was in the beginning of the film to where we saw him end up. Perhaps Ms. Grant will add a few more scenes to eliminate the confusion. Juliette Lewis was just darling and gave a very convincing performance. This film releases in January 2007 so get ready to have some fun.
Not going to lie, this movie totally surpasses expectations. On the
surface, it looks like a total chick flick, but it totally delivers for
guys too. Lots of laughs and a very realistic and introspective look at
coming to terms with the secret lives of the people we love.
Features a brilliant and very likable performance by Kevin Smith as Sam. Relative newcomer Sam Jaeger as Dennis delivers an extremely authentic and sincere performance. Their relationship as best friends offers both witty comic relief and another dimension to the plot. Very enjoyable.
Jennifer Garner is, of course, amazing and beautiful. She gives her character a sense of depth and grace that is really refreshing on screen.
All the boyfriends who get "dragged" to this are going to love it--whether they admit to afterwards or not is a different story.
Why was this movie good? It wasn't supposed to be good. It was supposed
to be a piece-of-crap romantic comedy but instead, it's an excellent
story in so many complicated, touching, veracious ways. In fact, in
coming up with an IMDb score, I tried to think of any one thing that
would detract from a perfect movie-watching experience and, can you
believe it? I can't.
Who packaged and promoted this film? Were they sleeping during the screenings? From the first second, the quality of story and production was evident. Multi-faceted, varied characters. Nuanced storyline. Fine, fine performances. Beautifully done all around.
Thank you for this happy accident.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Girl learns that her fiancé of five years has been lying. . .about
pretty much everything including having a kid with another woman while
they were dating. She freaks out and then hooks up with the only one of
his friends who was aware of all of his lies and who admits to walking
away anytime a relationship gets serious. . . Oh, and yeah she watched
him having sex with a complete stranger on the day of her fiancé's
Girl finds out that there is also a cute, non-drug using, non-long haired, non-lying, non-drug using, non-sex fiend friend of her fiancé who is in love with her but shuts him down, because. . . women are STUPID???
Of course all is well in the end because the drug smoking hippie sex fiend surfer dude who has relationship and intimacy issues is RICH. YEAH! ALL IS WELL.
P...L...E...A...S...E!!!!! Women are NOT that STUPID!!
The opening scene of C&R could have been me when my best friend died. Susannah Grant (and Jennifer Garner with her tremendous acting) has put a touching visual to that permanent loss of a loved one. The coming together of these friends, each mourning in their own way and trying to figure out how to move forward, is captured with humor and at times is sadly haunting. Each character looks for a way to stay connected, despite their loss. The use of periods of silence with the camera hanging on an actor's face is effective in communicating all the subtext involved in love, loss and friendship. Although it was easy for me to connect to each character, it may not be so for everyone. There are draws in this movie for everyone, however. Kevin Smith is wonderfully funny. Timothy Olyphant is beautiful to watch and Ms. Grant has used his beauty (and his fantastically revealing facial expressions) to the film's advantage. Jennifer Garner is . . . Jennifer Garner. She's fabulous. I loved this movie and can't wait to see it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jennifer Garner's fiancé is killed in an accident just before their
wedding in idyllic Boulder, Colorado. He was an outdoorsy dude who ran
a fly-fishing shop with one of his three pals (Sam Jaeger), who lived
with a boozy, Zennish herbal tea peddler (Kevin Smith); the last of the
gang, Timothy Olyphant, embodies the most shallow and lascivious of his
current home, Malibu. He's the one who mourns by boinking a caterer in
the upstairs bathroom after the funeral.
After their six-year relationship ends as it did, Garner is sympathetically devastated ...for a while. Then this faint echo of The Big Chill disintegrates into soapy nonsense. Her late almost-hubby fathered a child in California he'd never mentioned, while sending monthly checks from a large account she never knew was part of the package. One pal 'fesses up to the huge crush he's always harbored for Garner, silently agonizing over her naive devotion to an undeserving philanderer. The "other woman" (Juliette Lewis, riffing as a sexy, New Agey flake with no apparent effort) and their kid show up. Things get worse, as Garner learns more about the timing and other details of his secret life. She finds solace and more from an unlikely source - all in about the same time it takes for rigor mortis to set in on the stiff who stiffed her.
The more the cast members talk and act, the more alienating they become. Within an hour - if not sooner - the generally engaging Garner and her circle grow tiresome, or worse. Smith, who's mainly there for comic relief, is the least annoying of the lot. But he's just circling the margins, playing it like Jack Black on Prozac. Nothing that happens makes sense, or justifies ongoing empathy with the characters. The splendor of Colorado's pastoral summer scenery is polluted by the plot. If the EPA had required an Environmental Impact study, they might have stopped the production. Another casualty of governmental cutbacks and overworked agencies.
Despite being quite predictable, "Catch & Release" manages to be one of
the most enjoyable films so far this year. It is by no means amazing,
but it will no doubt ensure that you leave the theaters with a smile on
Jennifer Garner is perfectly cast as Grey, a woman who loose her fiancé just days before the wedding. As she grieves, she learns several surprising facts regarding her old lover's past - all of which will keep you entertained. Juliette Lewis and Kevin Smith guest star, both as enjoyable (and sometimes hilarious!) characters, that will keep the audience hooked.
All-in-all, "Catch & Release" is a quick-paced, light-hearted, romantic comedy, which chronicles love, loss, and finding love again. HIGHLY recommended!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is probably the worst movie I've seen in a very, very long time.
Now, I didn't watch Little Man, but I'm just gonna go ahead and say
this is worse. I cannot even begin to go into intellectual detail about
why it is so bad because there is nothing
deep/meaningful/entertaining/well written/understandable about the
entire film. It is a series of pointless events followed by a
Jennifer Garner's character has such a lack of personality that they made her "talk a lot when shes nervous" so that she seemed more human and less like a robot. That is the only thing she does in the whole movie that gives her personality, otherwise she is pouting like a duck the whole time. Oh wait, that is her face.
Sam Jaeger is totally pointless to the whole movie. He is pretty much just there, and then one time he sensuously touches Jennifer Garner's back, and right then we just know that he's in love with her. Nevermind actually giving us insight into why he loves her. Maybe he just loves her back. Then after not doing crap the whole film, he declares his love for her near the end and we, the viewer, physically cannot care because we don't know either of these characters.
Timothy Olyphant is stupid. He does nothing the whole film that would make me think, "No wonder Jennifer Garner "makes love" to him right after her fiancé dies." He constantly has this look of mild retardation on his face, which worked for Johnny Knoxville in The Ringer but for different reasons. He also looks like Barry Watson and Josh Duhamel had a baby. That is not a compliment.
Juliette Lewis did the best she could for the role given. She actually had some personality, and even though she was playing a "promiscuous woman", she worked with it. However, the majority of her scenes were nonsensical. Why would Jennifer Garner's Dead Fiancé's Friends-Who-Are-In-Love-With-Her invite this woman over to their home...with her really annoying child...and play house with her? Also, how did she afford a PSP for her son if she can't even afford anything more than street walker clothes? These questions will never be answered.
Kevin Smith truly makes me sad. I can only imagine he did this movie as some favor to Ben Affleck's wife. He does his role fine, but he is totally out of place in the film. He is witty and likable, unlike the rest of the cast, and sticks out like a sore thumb. Instead of making the movie more bearable, he just made me confused as to whether or not I still respected him for stooping to this level.
I think that's about it. Don't watch this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've had some very painful root canals and some major surgeries where I thought I was going to die and while I watched this movie with my wife I found myself longing for those times because they were far less painful than having to sit through this movie. In my opinion the movie couldn't have been cast any worse then it was, Jennifer Garner couldn't have played a worse character even if she were cast as Aileen Wuornos in Monster it would have paled in comparison to this horrible hollow character. As far as the chemistry between Garner and Olyphant, a love story about a plastic bag that falls in love with a piece of cardboard would be far more exciting and frankly far more realistic. I was hoping that he would go crazy and pull out a razor and start killing people like in his other movies. At least then SOMETHING would have happened. It amazes me the garbage that gets green lit these days and that people actually spent money making this shallow, predictable snore fest. I guess the 8 year old girl that wrote the script while in the hospital recovering from her lobotomy was the daughter of one of the big movie executive with all the money. On the good side the DVD makes a wonderful coaster or pizza cutter, therefore the half-star.
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