MOVIE: Catch and Release (2006)

Remember how a couple of days ago I made a comment that I was sorry I didn’t have more friends who were horror fans?  And you guys all chimed in and said, “Hey, dude!  Horror rules!  It’s romantic comedies we think are crap!”

Um, hi, guys!  Guess what!  I loved this movie!

I could see the surprise on my Mom’s face when I picked this one up during our last visit, because not only do I not usually go for rom-coms, but I also often make fun of my twin sister (hi, sis!) for loving them quite as much as she tends to.  Whadda sap!  Give me a good chainsaw massacre any ol’ day of the week — you can keep that pukey kissy stuff to yourself!

That said, there were two reasons I wanted to see Catch and Release.  The first is my MAJOR girl-crush on Jennifer Garner, who I will worship until the end of time for her work on the TV show Alias.  And the second was my curiosity about Timothy Olyphant, who, until now, I had only seen in one of the Scream movies and in HBO’s (terrific) Western series Deadwood.

In the Scream movie (I think it was the second one, by the way, but I’m too lazy to go look this up right now), I had found Olyphant all too effective in his role as a total sociopath primarily because he, like Christian Bale, has a set of teeth that I find extremely distracting and creepy.  They make for an eerily effective psychopathic grin, you know what I mean?  Luckily, the teeth weren’t a problem when he was on Deadwood because of the superior coverage provided by his character Seth Bullock’s tidy handlebar moustache.  That’s how it came to be that, by season two of that series, I was head-over-heels in love with Olyphant.  But I was still far, far too afraid to rent anything else he’d been in for fear the spell would be broken as soon as I got a glimpse of his choppers again.

“But what if he played a sexy filmmaker who falls in love with my girl-crush Jennifer Garner in a romantic comedy co-starring Kevin Smith?” I asked myself.  “Would that be enough to help me overcome my problem with his freaky teeth?”

It was time to find out.

I went into this movie fully expecting to find it over-the-top with the cheese, but you know what?  I actually laughed out loud a LOT (thank you, Kevin Smith, for your outrageous awesomeness) and even though I never really found the relationship between the two main characters very authentic, I still ended up feeling kinda sweet on them both by the final act.

The story is about a young woman named Gray (Garner) who, as the movie opens, has just lost her fiance in a boating accident.  Struggling with her grief, she’s taken in by her former-fiance’s two best friends, Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger).  To her dismay, though, it’s not going to be the cozy household of three she expected because, as it turns out, her fiance’s other best friend, a Los Angeles filmmaker named Fritz (Olyphant), is crashing on their couch temporarily.  And Fritz — yeesh — he has driven her insane since the first day she met him.
Alas, things get even worse for Gray when she begins to learn things about her fiance that she never knew before his death — like, for example, that he had a lover in Los Angeles (Juliette Lewis).  One that Fritz has known about for years, by the way, which doesn’t help HIS case too much.  Oh, and incidentally?  That lover also happens to have a young son who looks an AWFUL lot like Gray’s dead future husband.  Whooooops!

Of course, anybody who’s ever seen a romantic comedy knows exactly where all this is  headed — the two characters that fight the most always end up madly in love with each other, and that’s exactly what happens here too.  There’s even the obligatory scene in which Gray gets really made at Fritz and slaps his face, and he grabs her one arm and pins it to the wall, and then she tries to slap him with her OTHER hand, which he also then grabs and pins to the wall — and then they pause for a moment and look into each others eyes, annnnnnd. . . *smooch*!

For the record?  I hate that scene.  And I also love it.  I’m complicated that way.

In any case, my number one complaint about romantic comedies is that they’re just too predictable (not to mention unrealistic, because most women I know knee the guy in the groin after he pins both their arms to the wall during a fight — or wait, maybe that’s just me?).  The thing about Catch and Release, though, is that there was enough charm and actual comedy thrown into the mix that I just totally. . . fell for it.  I really, really liked all the actors.  I really, really liked the Colorado outdoorsy setting.  I really, really laughed at all of Kevin Smith’s jokes.  And I just had me one fine afternoon.

Go ahead, be disgusted, horror movie lovers — I’ll completely understand.  Stay tuned for a review of 30 Days of Night, where I get back on track and write about vampires chewing the necks off of little children.  Blood!  Gore!  Monsters!  I’m home!

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith, Juliette Lewis, Fiona Shaw, Joshua Friesen, Sam Jaeger

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5 Responses to “MOVIE: Catch and Release (2006)”

  1. Rochelle Says:

    ok, when i saw this movie title i lost all respect for you for a second. but since in last time you turned me onto the Final Girl blog, i’ll forgive. i’m goig to be adding a lot of movies to my netflix because of her! and btw, i think i rented or saw manitou on tv with my mom a long time ago. from what i remember it was terrible. not that that stops us from watching stuff!

  2. Liz Says:

    I have to jump in here again (I think I’m doing altogether too much jumping in – don’t I have a life?), even tho’ I haven’t seen the movie. First, I have to mention that you (Meg) said something that I think goes for a number of horror movies too: “my number one complaint about romantic comedies is that they’re just too predictable.” How many times have we all seen horror movies where we yell at the characters (at least I do) things like “Don’t go in there!” or “Lock the door!” or “Can’t you see there’s something seriously weird about that character?” And why do we do this, you may ask? Because we KNOW what’s going to happen; i.e. it’s all just too PREDICTABLE!

    I venture to say that any type of movie with which we become familiar is going to become predictable in some way! But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them for what they are! That said, I too have logged on to the Final Girl blog, and am at present “lurking.” I’m awfully glad that I now have one more cred in the fan-of horror-movie department for knowing what “final girl” means! In conclusion, I say, if you like it, you like it – heck, don’t we all like “Love, Actually?”

  3. Trip Says:

    A knee to the attacker’s groin when both arms are pinned to the wall is a valid self defense move. It ensures that both hands are released by the assailant, which restores full fighting functionality to the victim.

    The smooch, on the other hand, is sure to disarm the most fiery of jilted lasses. Checkmmmmmate!

  4. megwood Says:

    Trip, that just made me laugh out loud. Nice one!

  5. Lorraine Says:

    I guess that I’m not a typical reader of this site because I don’t “do” horror movies. I don’t like them at all. But I do love a GOOD romantic comedy. I think that the most important element of a romantic comedy is chemistry between the leads. If that is missing then the plotting seems forced and predictable.

    I consider “Catch and Release” to be a good romantic comedy. I’m not a Jennifer Garner fan but I don’t dislike her either. I liked Olyphant in “Deadwood” but I could only get through 2 episodes. But the two of them in this movie – WOW! They both seemed decent and fairly intelligent (unlike something like “Fool’s Gold”). I like my rom-coms to have characters with some complexity and that they need some self-discovery or growth before being able to get together with the other person. And Kevin Smith was funny and rather sweet. I had a slight problem with the “pinning” scene also but I’m not too crazy about all the hitting before it either.

    I’m a person who didn’t like “Love Actually”. They didn’t spend enough time on any character for me to care about anyone. But I did like Grant’s singing scene. Which reminds me that I also enjoyed “Music and Lyrics” with him and Drew Barrymore. It was sweet and funny and just worked for me.

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