CATCH AND RELEASE: SWEET BUT PREDICTABLE
Catch and Release wants to be a romantic comedy and it has all the elements. Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30), Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood), and a story about a girl finding her way back after she has lost her fiancé. But the movie misses its mark. The sad subject and the events that follow overshadow the romance and the comedy. Jennifer Garner is likeable as always and beautiful Colorado provides the scenery.
Gray Wheeler (Jennifer Garner) has just lost her fiancée. Dennis (Sam Jaeger) and Sam (Kevin Smith) are friends that provide support. Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) is a friend of her fiancée’s that Gray doesn’t like. Gray finds out that her fiancée had secrets. He had an affair with a woman (Maureen Monette) that resulted in a son. He was rich. Then Gray starts to have feelings with Fritz. Everybody tries to deal with the lost of a friend, fiancée, son, etc.
The story doesn’t know what it wants to be. There are notes of humor and sadness, each making the film feel awkward because they don’t flow well together. You don’t know to laugh or cry. Gray’s character is multilayered. Characters like Sam (Kevin Smith) are not, with Smith’s acting not helping. He should stick to directing (or not, if you listen to his critics). Garner, like with her past films, is the girl next door and easy to identify with. Colorado provides nature to the story. You can almost smell the fresh air. It brings a laid back atmosphere.
Garner’s Gray has depth that makes it easy to identify with. The rest of the characters don’t have that same depth, making them seem hollow. We are not given a chance to really get to know them. This would have made for dynamic relationships between Gray and those around her.
Catch and Release is a pleasant story about a young woman trying to recover from her fiancée’s death. She deals with secrets that come out. Garner is good as the young woman. And the ensemble does what they can with their one dimensional characters.