Catch and Release (2006)

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Published on: 2007.09.23

IMDb: Catch and Release
Wikipedia: Catch and Release
Rating: PG-13
Length: 124 minutes (2:04)
Director: Susannah Grant
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Romance
My Rating: 2 of 10
Family Friendly: No one should watch this movie.
If you value your time, don’t waste it by watching this one, since it’s not entertaining, it’s not educational, it’s not funny, and it’s not really anything else.

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

You’d think that a movie played by Jennifer Garner, Kevin Smith, Juliette Lewis, and other accomplished actors might have some reason for existing, but “Catch and Release” does not.

Not only did I find it impossible to waste my time watching this film, but I’d recommend that no one else watch it either. IMDb lists it as just over two hours long, but Netflix said it was an hour and 40 minutes. I couldn’t tell you, because I only made it through 45 agonizing minutes.

Kevin Smith is a better actor than this movie shows — even in the “Jay and Silent Bob” movies, Smith does a better job. Juliette Lewis has been in amazing films like “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “Natural Born Killers,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” and “Cape Fear,” but this movie is perhaps the culmination of her career’s downslide (has she done any good work since 1996?)

Jennifer Garner, TV’s “Alias,” has also done better.

“Catch and Release” was supposed to be good because it was written by Susannah Grant, the supposed genius behind “Erin Brokovich” and “28 Days,” not to mention her writing and directing credits for “Party of Five.”

But Susannah Grant should have thrown this script away before showing it to anyone. And even though she did show it to people, they still decided to make this movie.

What’s wrong with it, specifically?

Okay, you asked.

“Catch and Release” is apparently about a “widow,” played by Jennifer Garner. Except the discerning viewer will realize that she was never actually married to the dead guy, so how can she be a widow? That’s the first problem.

The main character in the movie appears to be “Grady,” a man who died just before the movie started, and never appears on screen. Everyone else in the movie has something to do with Grady — his fiancee, his mother, his friends, the mother of his child, and so on.

Jennifer Garner plays “Gray” (a silly name at best), who was supposed to be marrying Grady, but is now suffering his loss. From what, we’re not told (at least not in the first 45 minutes of the movie).

This is one of the movie’s main problems. It doesn’t give you enough information to know the characters. We’re not told how Grady died. We’re not told, for a long time, how long Gray and Grady were together, though that timeline later becomes very important (because Grady had a kid with another woman during that time).

There’s a whole cast of Grady’s friends, but the viewer doesn’t know how Grady knew them, or what his relationship was like with them.

None of the characters are developed enough for a viewer to get to know them, not even Grady.

Just before I turned the movie off, there were several scenes that didn’t make any sense, either to advance the plot, for humor’s sake, or any other reason. Gray is asking one of Grady’s friends a question, but within seconds, they’re kissing, although neither has shown much liking for the other. No lead-up; just a big long tongue kiss.

To quote another review, this movie is the “least likely to be remembered by anyone at this time next year.”

The movie doesn’t lead us anywhere, and doesn’t give me any reason to keep watching.

One major thing in it’s favor: the trailer. My wife and I saw the trailer on another DVD, and both thought, “that could be an endearing tale.” Boy, we were misled. Kudos to the crew that put that preview together.

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