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CATCH AND RELEASE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Instead of being the centre of attention at her wedding, Gray Wheeler (Jennifer Garner) finds herself at her fiancé Grady's funeral, after he dies in a freak accident. Overwhelmed by guilt from their last quarrel, Gray becomes more and more distressed as she learns her husband to be had fathered a child with a massage therapist Maureen (Juliette Lewis). The groom's three best friends are behaving strangely; Sam (Kevin Smith) takes sleeping pills, Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) has sex with the caterer at the funeral and his business partner Dennis (Sam Jaeger) has become overly attentive to Gray.

Review by Louise Keller:
The problem with Catch and Release is that it doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a drama, romantic comedy or quirky comedic drama. The directing debut of writer Susannah Grant, who penned wonderful screenplays for Erin Brockovich and In Her Shoes, she seems unable to find the right tone in order to make the story engaging and credible.

The film begins with black dresses and tears, when Jennifer Garner's aptly named Gray is trying to cope at the funeral of her fiancé Grady, who dies in an accident. Gray hides in the bathroom, but it is not much of a retreat; Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) one of Grady's best friends, is having casual sex with one of the caterers. Scenes are suddenly played for laughs as the groom-to-be's friends (Kevin Smith, Jaeger and Olyphant) act as though they are playing in a sit-com. Even the attempted suicide is delivered as a joke. Unable to pay her rent, Gray moves in with the boys, and begins to discover secrets in her fiance's past. There's a healthy secret bank account and a four year old son Mattie (Joshua Friesen) he fathered with ditzy masseur Maureen (Juliette Lewis).

It never rings true that Gray has no friends of her own and relies only on her fiance's pals to see her through this difficult time. It's as though Grant is looking for laughs when they are not appropriate or funny. There's a blender turned on with no lid and when Gray learns about 'the other woman', she heads for a bar where she starts laughing hysterically. These scenes are uncomfortable to watch, and even the moment when Grady's mother (Fiona Shaw) asks Gray to return her engagement ring, is misjudged. The romance between Fritz and Gray is forced, and the film's only bright spark lies in the effervescent form of Juliette Lewis' mini-skirted Maureen, who may be a little over-the-top, but provides a burst of welcome energy. The title refers to Catch and Release fishermen; 'If you're gonna torture something, have the decency to eat it,' Gray says, in a confessional of the secrets she held from her fiancé.

It's a disappointing debut for Grant, and while the cast delivers what is asked of them, their characters are plastic. Even the soundtrack, which is bright and bouncy, is more suited to a romantic comedy.

Published July 12, 2007



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

CATCH AND RELEASE: DVD (M)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Sam Jaeger, Kevin Smith, Juliette Lewis

PRODUCER: Jenno Topping

DIRECTOR: Susannah Grant

SCRIPT: Susannah Grant

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Lindley

EDITOR: Anne V. Coates

MUSIC: BT, Tommy Stinson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brent Thomas

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 4, 2007

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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