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Catch and Release
Predictable material with some nice touches
Catch and Release
Jennifer Garner Stars in "Catch and Release".
OPENING WEEKEND: $12,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $45,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

September 1st, 2006: Gray’s (Jennifer Garner) seemingly picture perfect life is suddenly unraveling right beneath her feet. Shortly before her wedding, her fiancée dies tragically, leaving her reeling just when she thought she would be experiencing pure joy. With the passing of time, the former bride-to-be even begins to discover that her fiancée was hiding secrets from her. Consequently, she begins to question the very nature of the once happy relationship. Due to her current financial situation, Gray is forced to move out of her place and move in with her slightly off-beat, but good-hearted friend Sam (Kevin Smith). His warm and cheerful personality is very helpful during Gray’s transitional period as is the advice of her eccentric friend Maureen (Juliette Lewis). Oddly, she finds her closest companion in Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), her deceased fiancée’s best friend and a man whose very presence used to fill her with disgust. When the two find unexpected love in each other, it’s just another lesson that things are not always as they seem.

What to Expect: The dramedy marks the directorial debut of Susannah Grant, who, up to this point, has had resounding success as a screenwriter. She’s contributed with screenplays for films like Ever After, 28 Days, and In Her Shoes. While they all could be deemed and dismissed as ‘chick flicks,’ they’ve also earned their marks with both critics and audiences. Grant’s ultimate ‘chick flick’ script, however, led to Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar winning film Erin Brockovich. Besides Catch and Release, Grant also has this December’s highly anticipated family feature Charlotte’s Web in the works, although once again she is only contributing to the screenplay. As a directorial debut, Catch and Release does seem like a very safe choice. Not only is it familiar material for Grant, but it also appears to pose no major technical hurdles the way a project like Charlotte’s Web would.

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This is a good role for Jennifer Garner, who is rapidly edging her way toward becoming the next America’s sweetheart. The light comedy should allow her to remain her breezy self, but there is also room for growth in the dramatic department. In case the movie becomes a bit too sentimental, Juliette Lewis and Kevin Smith will be there to alleviate it of some of its sappiness. Lewis is truly one of the more underrated actresses. Rarely does she repeat herself with her work and there doesn’t seem to be a role that would be too much of a stretch for her. I could see her pulling off just about any part imaginable, so providing a little comedy relief should be a walk in the part. The most unusual cast member here, however, is writer-director Kevin Smith. His fans must be rolling their eyes at the mere mention of his inclusion in the picture. The role does represent a rather uncharacteristic move on the part of the typically cynical and irreverent filmmaker. While in the eyes of his die-hard fans this may be a disastrous career choice, the obvious clash with the material that his personality will provide may ultimately prove to be good for the feature. Grant reportedly singled Kevin Smith out after seeing his DVD, An Evening with Kevin Smith. Since he even delayed production of Clerks II to take part in the film, there must have been something worthwhile about the project. Apparently, he has been a huge hit in early screenings and everyone has been raving about his performance. I can definitely see how his inclusion could be seen as a very positive force in an otherwise conventional picture. Sort of like Rhys Ifans in Notting Hill, he’ll provide a touch of charming goofiness.

Catch and Release looks way too straightforward to achieve any milestones as a romantic dramedy. Furthermore, the storyline seems kind of cheerless and perhaps a bit too uptight. However, in her script for the comedy 28 Days, Grant similarly intertwined moments that seriously dealt with the subject of addiction. Although many were critical of the clichéd storyline, I personally found it quite enjoyable. And the unusual inclusion of Juliette Lewis and especially Kevin Smith in Catch and Release represents a commendable decision on the part of the filmmakers. The casting immediately elevates the picture from potentially becoming the standard, dull, romantic drivel.

In Conclusion: As long as Juliette Lewis and Kevin Smith can steal the show, the film’s mediocrity may prove to be easy to overlook. In fact, with just the right balance of conventional storytelling and slightly off-beat characters, the movie may become an enjoyable experience as a whole. As long as the audience will not expect too much, and they won’t, they will probably be able to find some pleasant escapist entertainment. Knowing Grant, perhaps there will even be room for a few genuinely and subtly profound moments.

Similar Titles: 28 Days, In Her Shoes, The Family Stone
January 26th, 2007 (wide)
May 8th, 2007 (DVD)

Columbia Pictures

Susannah Grant

Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Sam Jaeger, Juliette Lewis, Kevin Smith

Total: 63 vote(s).

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some drug use.






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