Friday 9 September 2022

Movie Review: Catch And Release (2006)

A miserable attempted romantic comedy, Catch And Release is full of dreadful people behaving badly.

In Boulder, Colorado, Gray (Jennifer Garner) is grieving the sudden death of her fiancé Grady. After the funeral she is unable to afford her own rent and moves in with Grady's best friends Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger). Also staying at the house is Los Angeles-based cinematographer Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), another of Grady's buddies.

Before long Gray uncovers suspicious transactions from Grady's bank accounts and is shocked to discover he had an affair with Los Angeles massage therapist Maureen (Juliette Lewis) and was financially supporting her kid. Now Maureen shows up in Boulder looking for continued financial support. Meanwhile Gray starts to fall in love with Fritz, and locks horns with Grady's mother Ellen (Fiona Shaw).

Written and directed by Susannah Grant, Catch And Release traps itself in contrived situations and introduces a quite horrid set of characters. This material may have worked as a mean spirited dark comedy, but here Grant aims for traditional rom-com notes and finds only flat keys and few chuckles. Starting with the dead Grady having an affair behind the back of his fiancée, everyone scratches their base instincts with no regard for anyone else. Sam and Dennis both lust after the fiancée of their recently deceased best buddy, the narcissist Fritz finds time to have sex with the caterer at his friend's funeral, then lies to Gray about Maureen. 

But Gray decides her disgust with Fritz is actually passion in disguise, and jumps into bed with him at the earliest opportunity. Even Grady's mom Ellen is a horrible person, attempting to extract the engagement ring back from Gray, who later reciprocates by resorting to extortion. Ironically, Juliette Lewis as the saucy massage therapist Maureen emerges as the only genuine and consistent person worth caring about. The best that can be said about the others is that they deserve each other. Catch And Release should have remained undisturbed among the bottom-feeders.

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