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.
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