Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Film review: Characters and their actions unbelievable in the uneven 'Catch and Release'

Film review: Characters and their actions unbelievable in the uneven 'Catch and Release'

Writer Susannah Grant, directing for the first time with "Catch and Release," seems to be aiming for the same kind of meaty chick flick she's come up with before in "28 Days," "Erin Brockovich" and "In Her Shoes."
There's no obligatory makeover montage edited to a perky pop tune, no mad dash to the airport in a last-minute attempt to salvage a relationship. For that at least, we can be thankful.
But this fish-themed romance flops wildly all over the place _ from heavy poignant moments to slapsticky comedy, with a healthy dose of soapy melodrama in between. What's worse is that her characters sound like people saying things that were written for them, not real people behaving organically, believably.
Jennifer Garner, returning to the screen for the first time since becoming a mother with husband Ben Affleck (and it's good to see her again), stars as Gray, a young woman whose fiance, Grady, dies in a boating accident on the eve of their wedding. The florists and caterers arrive and end up serving a funeral instead; the device puts you on edge from the start.
Financial problems force her to move into the cluttered home in laid-back Boulder, Colo., that Grady shared with Dennis (Sam Jaeger), his partner in a fly-fishing business, and Sam (Kevin Smith), the wisecracking pal who likes to regurgitate quotes that appear on his tea company's boxes. (This warm, soothing romantic comedy apparently is brought to you by the folks at Celestial Seasonings.)
But while she's there, and still grieving, Gray learns all kinds of things about the man she loved that she never knew before _ like, that he was secretly wealthy and had about $1 million (euro770,000)in his bank account. Oh, and that he cheated on her with a woman in Los Angeles and is the father of her young son, to whom he sends $3,000 (euro2,300) a month.
All of this makes her realize that she never really knew him _ or herself for that matter.
Soon the mom, a dippy massage therapist named Maureen (Juliette Lewis) who is the polar opposite of the straight, wholesome Gray, comes teetering into town in her high heels and micro-miniskirt with the destructive little moppet (Joshua Friesen) in tow. All of Grady's inordinately openhearted friends not only let her stay, they also eat the cleansing organic dinner she prepares for them, which provides an opportunity for Gray to loosen up for once and make some confessions of her own. (The moment is supposed to be a powerful turning point; instead, it just feels clunky.)
In the midst of all this there's an out-of-nowhere suicide attempt and a couple of ugly confrontations with Grady's mother (Fiona Shaw), who wants the family's heirloom engagement ring back.
There's a lot going on here. It's a long movie, and it's packed.
At the same time, Gray falls in love with one of Grady's buddies, a bad-boy TV director named Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), and begins a secret relationship with him. His sly good looks make it easy to accept Olyphant as a scheming womanizer; after similar roles in "Go" and "The Girl Next Door," he's got this routine down by now. But then Fritz turns into a sweetheart, which seems abruptly out of place.
Not to mention that it's implausible that she'd fall for this person, out of everyone in the world, this quickly. It seems crass _ and, if you'll pardon the pun, a little fishy.
"Catch and Release," a Columbia Pictures release, runs 111 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.


Updated : 2021-05-11 23:03 GMT+08:00