CATCH AND RELEASE: DVD
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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CATCH AND RELEASE: DVD (M)
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
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: July 4, 2007
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