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CATCH AND RELEASE
U.S. Release Date: January 26, 2007
Distributor: Sony / Columbia
Director: Susannah Grant
Writer: Susannah Grant
Producer: Ryan Kavanaugh (executive)
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith
Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sexual content, language and some drug use)

Aimless Characters Populate Aimless Movie
by Scott Holleran

A Jennifer Garner vehicle called Catch and Release sinks straight to the bottom. Garner mugs and poses and stars as a Boulder, Colorado, woman who tries to recover from the loss of her fiancé by sloughing off with his friends for a few weeks.

Writer and director Susannah Grant's Catch and Release makes it seem more like several years, substituting asinine humor for character development and holding aimlessness as a virtue. Garner's Gray—that's her character's name—huffs and puffs while hanging with her dead boyfriend's hippie friends (Timothy Olyphant, Sam Jeager, Kevin Smith), apparently for the sole purpose of falling into the sack with one of them.

It does not take long for the supposedly mourning Gray to throw herself open to this movie's overplayed notion that love is indiscriminate. Watching her do it is neither romantic nor comedic. Written in the same half-talk mumble common to a self-centered, text-messaging youth, the script is simply atrocious.

After locking horns with her boyfriend's grieving mother (Fiona Shaw), who wants the engagement ring back, Gray cuddles up to three of the most aimless whiners in Colorado, who chew with their mouths open, have sex with strangers at funerals and would just as soon get wasted as take a shower. They do not work—they don't finish their sentences—and they do not have a purpose, not even when Juliette Lewis shows up to do her spacey thing with a kid in tow.

Neither does Catch and Release, though that is its purpose, that there is no purpose, that reality bites big time and one is destined to mope through life until stumbling upon some random, unchosen fellow traveler. In one scene, somebody complains that being paid takes the fun out of one's work. The worthless Catch and Release is consistent in that regard. No one really acts to gain or keep a value here.

A low point is reached when Gray resorts to extortion to obtain an endowment for the sake of less fortunate others. Susannah Grant, who wrote the affable Ever After and the refreshing In Her Shoes, mistakes letting go for Anything Goes and winds up with communal, blank-slate slobs—tracked with Woodstockish folk music every other second—a negligent mother who instructs her child to ignore reality and a pair of vacant hippies in heat. Catch and Release should have been called "Run and Hide."


REVIEWS OF SIMILAR MOVIES:
A Lot Like Love
Falling in Love for Dummies
P.S. I Love You
Swank Sings in Poignant Postscripts


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