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Catch and Release

Susannah Grant

Catch and Release
Commencing with the funeral of our leading lady’s fiancé, Catch and Release barely makes it beyond the casket, limping along with writing almost as stiff and lifeless as the unseen corpse responsible for setting the rusty plot wheels into motion. Jennifer Garner plays the bereaved almost widow, Gray, with wide-eyed, sullen-faced desolation, battling for sympathy with the script’s underdeveloped sentiments and crippling constraints of mainstream romantic comedy conventions. The supporting cast attempt to make the best of their misfortunes, with Timothy Olyphant investing his typical misunderstood "sleaze with a heart of gold” persona into the romantic lead, Fritz, while Kevin Smith, in his first real acting role, seems cast specifically to be a kid-friendly version of himself as an irresponsible, clowning loafer, drunk and sexless comic relief teddy bear named Sam. Sam Jaeger has less success playing Dennis, Gray’s groaningly clichéd best friend holding a secret torch, and Juliette Lewis is not as effective as she could be due to her awkward typecasting as a quirky fortune cookie philosophy spewing alternative health enthusiast mother. All are victims of a scriptwriter married to trends and conventions. There aren’t really any surprises, excitement, laughs or tears in Catch and Release, making it a testament to the personal likeability of certain cast members that this flat, emotionless shambling corpse of a film is even tolerable. Two commentary tracks are all the extras provided. The first, with director Susannah Grant and Kevin Smith, is more of an interview than a traditional discussion of the filming process, with Smith questioning Grant into an overview of her career while he exercises the dirty mind he had to keep out of the movie. The second track, with Grant and cinematographer John Londley, is more a straight scene analysis of technical production elements and stylistic choices. (Sony)
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