This movie is aptly named. Once you catch a glimpse of it, you want to release it back into the bad bin of movies where it belongs. Perhaps the straight to DVD bin?
Catch and Release is a story about a woman whose fiance dies abruptly before their wedding on his bachlor party trip. His funeral, held the day of the cancelled wedding, is where we catch our first glimpse of the sort-of widow, Gray (Jennifer Garner). When this movie began, I had high hopes. The story is tragic, and the small details of the funeral contrasting with what should have been a happy day were clear: the florist arriving with bouquets, the programs lined up along the doorway, the wedding cake taking up all the space in the fridge. Gray, unable to control her emotions at the constant clashes of happiness and sorrow, runs and hides in the bathroom. Garner shows good potential as a dramatic actress here. It is her dealings with the rest of the emotional spectrum that I had trouble beliving–mainly the anger part of coming to terms with death and betrayal, as yes, Gray was cheated on by her dead fiance.
But this wasn’t his only secret. He was rich and had a child and a girlfriend in LA. Even his best friends didn’t know! Except one, the handsome rogue artist/sell-out Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) who stays in Boulder after the funeral to make sure everything is covered for his dead best friend. This movie sways between a recovery after death movie to a sweet love story of the girl everyone loved because she was perfect. We all know perfection is the true deception, and this movie does prove that. Each character is a perfect example of their stereotype, and the deception that brings out the truth and their ultimate pesonality are uncovered until the movie ends happily.
The side characters in this story came fully loaded with personality. Notable is Kevin Smith as Sam, the other best friend and roommate of the dead fiance, who works for Celestial Seasonings tea, gaining permission for the quotes used on the boxes. Throughout the movie his mood can be captured by what tea he is drinking and the proverb that comes across his lips. While his clothing may have been better (he seemed to be in what he normally wears: sport jersey, mismatched shirts, and baggy pants), he is the stronger of Gray’s support group.
Juliette Lewis also does a good job of not playing a psycho here. Her character is the most normal I’ve ever seen her as, and he appears sexy and beautiful as the dead fiance’s mistress. I liked that she was not a tramp here though, just a massage therapist who believes in nature and spirit; a California new age hippy who loved the wrong guy.
While the characters were well developed, the movie did not hold up it’s end of the bargin and was at times torturous to sit through because of the long, drawn out, down right boring plot. The characters became trapped in the storyline and could not develop further than it led them. The other of the dead fiance’s roommates kind of fell off the movie at the end, being displaced with no one to love while everyone else moved on. Depressing. When it comes down to it, this movie could have been a lot better than it was. There was enough deceit and pain that should have carried the characters, but it seemed that the director and writers wanted this to be more of a story book romance than a true expereince. Too bad. It had potential.
Smokin’ Aces had the best all-star cast since Lucky Number Slevin. I only wished I liked the movie as much as I liked the cast.
It’s not that the movie was bad or boring. It just wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it was going to be. Yes, there were lots of gunfights. And yes, it was a race for the first hitman to get to Buddy “Aces” Israel. But it wasn’t as exciting as a movie about multiple hitmen (and women) going after a Vegas entertainer while a horde of FBI guys are after him should be.
Things I did like:
Ryan Reynolds…always. In every movie. Ever. He brings humor, emotion, and a level of humanity to every role he takes, and Agent Messner is no exception.
Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds’ banter. They should make a buddy cop movie together.
Alicia Keys as an actress. I’ve never been a big fan of her music, but she seems like given a better role, she could do really well in acting. Not that she wasn’t good in this role, but dressing like a hooker and carrying a gun around can’t be all that difficult.
Jeremy Piven as Buddy Israel. I don’t watch Entourage, so I only know Piven from his roles in movies like Serendipity and his role on “Ellen” years ago. I felt for his character. I wish we were given more time with him dealing with his emotions. He was potentially selling out his friends and dooming himself to a lifetime of hiding. The few scenes where we see how that affects him were fantastic. Piven balances Buddy’s “I’m a Vegas bad boy” persona and his “desperate person falling off the end of the world” true self very well.
The use of very famous cameos – Wayne Newton, Matthew Fox, Jason Bateman.
There were, of course, things I didn’t like. There were too many distractions – side trips that were unnecessary, characters that served no real purpose. I also didn’t like that it didn’t take place in Vegas. A hit on a Vegas entertainer should go down in Vegas. But no, he was staying in the penthouse in Tahoe. Tahoe? Seriously? How boring does it get? At least in Vegas we would have gotten flashing lights and the jangle of casino slot machines. In Tahoe we get a lovely view of the mountains from the penthouse windows.
I had really wanted this movie to be more like Lucky Number Slevin, which I had loved so much and had a similar style of plotline. Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up to the high expectations I had for it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go see it. It was a great way to spend the afternoon. If you’ve got ten bucks lying around and nothing better to do, go check it out. Gunfights are better on the big screen. If you’re broke and busy, it wouldn’t be a horrible thing for you to wait for Netflix.
Overall, an entertaining flick, if not one I’d watch over and over again. Ryan Reynolds was easily the best part of the movie. But as we know, I’m a big fan.
Thinking of going to see a scary movie this weekend? Check out Mike’s review of The Hitcher before choosing your flick. Here’s a sample:
I wished I could just be sleeping, rather than suffering through the boredom that this movie was…The whole time I kept thinking “Who thought this movie would make money at the box office?” and “Why would Sean Bean kill his career like this?”