Catch and Release Susannah Grant

Is there really a market for something like Catch and Release? Though it’s clearly not aimed at me, I can’t imagine who would tolerate this wet noodle of a movie beyond the very easily amused.

The shaky plot begins with poor Gray Wheeler (Jennifer Garner) getting the news (on her wedding day, no less) that her husband-to-be has died in a freak accident. This means she has to give up the house they were renting and go live with some of his friends, specifically large, loquacious Sam (Kevin Smith), meek, sensitive Dennis (Sam Jaeger) and devil-may-care Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), the latter of whom initially irks our woman before they fall predictably in love.

Things are complicated when the dead fiancé’s estate may go to his illegitimate son (mothered by whole foods advocate Juliette Lewis). But no matter, by the time the pair arrives on the scene the film has sunk beneath the waves of its self-imposed confusion.

The film never quite explains why Gray must conceal her romance with Fritz from the other two housemates (except to facilitate the second act crisis), nor does it offer significant reason for its obsession with fly-fishing and other outdoorsy pastimes. Even as the heroine grapples with her dead lover’s dirty laundry, it’s impossible to care about the outcome. The film is so wan and indifferent that you just wish for the stick figure characters (complete with a rich bitch mother of the groom) to start talking about something vaguely human.

And curiously, the film fails completely to give Gray a female friend. This is surely a first in the Lifetime movie genre but it’s not distinction enough to make this worth your money.