out of Five
Running time: 105
Disappointing film that can't decide whether it's meant to be a romantic comedy or an emotional drama and fails at both as a result.
What's it all about?
Jennifer Garner plays the improbably named Gray Wheeler, a young woman whose fiance dies just a few days before their wedding. Things go from bad to worse when she discovers that he had fathered a child with a ditzy LA-based massage therapist (Juliette Lewis) and hadn't bothered to tell her.
Whilst dealing with her grief and coming to terms with her shocking discovery, Gray moves in with her fiance's three best friends:
wisecracking but suicidal Sam (Kevin Smith), secretly smitten Dennis (Sam Jaeger) and sleazy Fritz (Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant), whom Gray had caught putting the fun into funeral by shagging a caterer in the bathroom during the wake. Will she fall for his dubious charms?
Catch and Release (the title refers to a fishing technique and there's an oh-so-symbolic fishing scene to hammer home the metaphor) is the directorial debut by screenwriter Susannah Grant. Sadly, she seems unsure as to whether the film is meant to be an offbeat romantic comedy or a dealing-with-grief-type emotional drama and in trying to be both it succeeds as neither.
In Her Shoes proved that Grant could write comedy but that talent seems to have deserted her, as none of the physical comedy moments work here (eg. Smith getting an uncomfortable massage from Lewis) and the supposedly witty lines fall horribly flat. Similarly, the central relationship is badly written and unconvincing, making it difficult to care whether they get together or not.
Grant has cast likeable actors but the script fails to give them anything interesting to do, particularly Lewis whose character is just plain annoying.
The likeable cast save this from one star ignominy but this is a pretty poor experience all round, thanks to its badly written script and confused direction. Disappointing.
Catch and Release (12A)