January 30, 2007

Movie Review: Catch and Release

This is a movie that I thought was already through theaters and ready to hit DVD when I started seeing the commercials. I remember seeing the trailer what feels like a year ago, but then nothing. It has finally arrived in theaters, and after sitting through it, I can understand why they held it back for so long. It will be sure to create a "catch and release" type of response from filmgoers, or at least for this filmgoer. It is a movie that has some fairly deep emotional waters to tread, yet it barely sinks a toe into the waters, and what is there fades relatively quickly from the mind. As I write this, I can feel the details slipping away already.

As the movie starts we are right in the middle of a wake that was supposed to be a wedding. At the center of the activity is Gray (Jennifer Garner), surrounded by friends as she struggles to cope with the untimely loss of her fiancee, Grady. As her coping mechanisms kick in, she moves in with Grady's roomies Sam and Dennis (Kevin Smith and Sam Jaeger). Also in the mix is Grady's friend Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), in town for the funeral, and hangs around to help clean up.

During her grieving process, Gray uncovers a liasion that Grady had that led to a son. So now, on top of dealing with the loss of her fiancee, she has to deal with his infidelity and the possibility of losing her inheritance to a son that no one knew about. Plus, she has a growing attraction to the slimy Fritz, while Sam and Dennis try to help out where they can.

Catch and Release is a nightmare narrative. The characters are thin and do not seem to work with any type of brain function. Rather than being creations moving within the plot, they are manipulated by the plot into a fashion that resembles a bad soap opera. Rather than dealing with the real emotions we fall into melodrama, a melodrama populated with characters that I don't care much about.

As I sat in the theater, I found myself thinking about how long the movie felt. I glanced at my watch and found it had only been 45 minutes. Around the hour mark I was wondering how they were going to stretch the story, not to mention the believability to the 110 minute runtime that I have seen posted, it felt like is going to struggle for 90. Then there are the false endings. There were a couple here, and when the real ending arrived, it had much less impact than the earlier ones would have.

The plot is filled with logistics issues. Who was living where, who was sleeping where, how did these get together in the first place, who was this Grady guy, how did he die, anything would have been nice. The scenes had very little flow or coherence, and it seemed that if the characters had any type of real conversation with each other the emotional resonance would have been much stronger, but then it would also have been much shorter.

If you ignore the story, the tangled mess that it is, and you ignore a couple of the characters, and you set the plot acrobatics aside, what you are left with are a few moments that are sweet or funny and would have been better off in some other film. Kevin Smith in the most substantial acting role I have ever seen him in, is solid as the comic relief roommate, and considerably more restrained than I expected. he had a number of funny and sweet moments. Then there is Jennifer Garner who can pull of the tough girl/emotional wreck character with the best of them, but here she just has the emotional wreck to work with. Such as it is, she has some very touching moments and a scene with Timothy Olyphant where the sparks flew. Sadly they were extinguished as fast as they appeared.

Bottomline. I would have to recommend skipping this and waiting for it to hit DVD. It was a script that was removed from the oven to soon. It came out solid on the edges, but the inside is a raw inedible mess.

Not Recommended.


Post a Comment