23 January 2007 | jdesando
Lightweight chick flick
She has dimples in the right places, an upper lip that looks like a hammer just hit it, and acting not always superior, but she gets the best roles Hollywood can offer a young woman. As that Julia Roberts glides into middle age, her younger version, Jennifer Garner may be the heir apparent but not for her role as the heroine of Catch and Release. Susannah Grant, who penned Julia's triumphant Erin Brockovich, tries to direct Garner as Gray Wheeler, but with much less energy and a poorer script.
Wheeler has just before the wedding lost her fiancé to a skiing accident. Not a bad premise that she discovers throughout the film more than she should about his life away from her. As she does about herself as she investigates his finances and romances. The film has nothing new to say about grief or healing, just about unchecked lusts for love and food (the latter the province of Kevin Smith, whose turn as the sloppy, overweight lovable friend, is sometimes funny, as when erotic massage therapist Maureen, played by Juliette Lewis, literally jumps his bones.
That Wheeler falls into the cute arms of Timothy Oliphant's Fritz is a given for this lightweight chick flick that would have us believe she would fall for a womanizer who scores a babe in the bathroom at the funeral while the grieving Wheeler listens aghast behind the shower curtain. That heavy-set Smith's Sam should overeat and have the best ironic comic lines could be predicted the minute you see Clerk's director on screen. That 60's Simon and Garfunkel type of music with a message should appeal to the audience of the 21st century, which may not demand character development in order to understand plot.
Catch and Release, a multiuse title referring to both the loss and a fishing motif, is a romantic comedy whose romance is low-grade (she just lost her fiancé for goodness sake) and comedy low-ball. Witnessing this failure should make you as sick as Sam after binge eating bags of potato chips.