Catch and Release Review
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Just days before her wedding, Gray Wheeler’s (Jennifer Garner) fiancé, Grady, is killed. Unable to afford the rent on their new house on her own, Gray is forced to move into Grady’s old house—with his friends, Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger). As she starts getting all of Grady’s accounts in order, though, Gray discovers that there were a few things that she didn’t know about her beloved fiancé—even though they’d been together for years. First of all, Grady was loaded. He had an unexplained million-dollar bank account that Gray never knew about—an account out of which Grady took $3000 each month to make an unspecified payment. The mystery deepens when Gray finds Grady’s cell phone and hears a message from some woman she’s never heard of—demanding her money.

The only person who knows about the woman is Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), Grady’s best friend, who’s visiting from LA. After some prodding, Fritz reveals that the woman is the mother of Grady’s child—again, something that Gray knew nothing about. Things get even messier when the woman, Maureen (Juliette Lewis), arrives at their door with Grady’s son, looking for cash.

Meanwhile, those closest to Grady grieve in their own way. Dennis, his business partner, decides to plant a peace garden. Sam wanders around in his robe and tries to overdose on vodka and pills. And Gray finds herself falling in love with her dead fiancé’s best friend.

I tend to be pretty forgiving when it comes to chick flicks. Being a chick myself, I’m often completely willing to suspend all reality and believe some of the most ridiculous and sappy storylines. I do it happily—and with a cheesy grin on my face. But Catch and Release is more than even I can handle. As if the mysterious fortune and the secret love child (with a slutty massage therapist, no less) weren’t enough, throw in the grieving almost-widow falling for the swingin’ single best friend (the one she caught having sex with the caterer in the bathroom during the funeral) just days later. It’s a good thing she does, though, since, if she hadn’t, she might not have been so willing to have a nice, happy, chi-cleansing meal with the woman that her dead fiancé regularly flew out to California to sleep with. Boy, would that have been awkward if she hadn’t already made out with her dead fiancé’s best friend!

The painfully unrealistic story should be enough of a reason to skip this movie—but in case you’re still not convinced, I’ll give you a few more reasons. First of all, there’s Jennifer Garner (and her seriously collagened lips). Yeah, I know you love Sydney Bristow. But Gray Wheeler is no Sydney Bristow. And Garner’s embarrassing performance will make you wonder how she pulled off Sydney Bristow for all those years. Then there’s Kevin Smith, who would have been better off reprising Silent Bob for this movie—because as soon as he opens his mouth, he turns into a bad imitation of Jack Black. There’s also Timothy Olyphant, whose toothy grin isn’t as much romantic-comedy as it is Jack-Nicholson-in-The-Shining. And there’s Juliette Lewis, who’s, well, Juliette Lewis.

Catch and Release is an unfortunate disaster for writer/director Susannah Grant (who was also nominated for an Oscar for writing Erin Brockovich). For her sake—not to mention that of Jennifer Garner and Kevin Smith—let’s all just ignore it and pretend it never happened, shall we?

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