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Monday, June 08, 2009:
"Catch & Release" (2007) - review


Screenwriter Susannah Grant makes her directorial debut in this tale of love, loss, and finding new love. Gray Wheeler's (Jennifer Garner) wedding day is not going as planned. Instead of walking down the aisle in her wedding gown, she is at the funeral of her fiancé, Grady, following his accidental death on a trip meant to be his bachelor party. To make ends meet, Gray puts her things in storage and moves in with Grady's roommates, levelheaded and attentive Dennis (Sam Jaeger) and quirky yet lovable Sam (Kevin Smith). With childhood friend Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) in from L.A. and crashing on the couch, it's a full house. Inhabiting Grady's old room, Gray soon learns that her fiancé had been keeping some big secrets from her and may not have been the man she thought he was. Perhaps more importantly, she discovers some surprising things about herself, and her ability to heal and love again.

Each of the characters in this film has to find a way to survive the devastating loss of a man who held them all together. Garner effectively conveys Gray's heartbreak and confusion without going over the top. As Fritz, Olyphant pulls off the role of the mystery man who is always charming but often misunderstood. Jaeger is earnest and heartfelt as Grady's roommate and business partner. But Smith is the scene-stealer here, with deadpan delivery and great timing as a Celestial Seasonings employee spouting philosophical quotes from the herbal tea company's packaging. Juliette Lewis appears as a sexy, slightly flaky, Californian massage therapist who is also a skeleton in Grady's closet.

I'd heard about this movie when it first came out, but for some reason it didn't appeal to me, so I pretty much forgot about it. But then Lea posted a sexy kissing scene from the movie during her "kissing contest", and I knew then that I just HAD to see it.

Basically, the movie is pretty much as the above paragraphs describe: Jennifer Garner portrays Gray, who, instead of marrying her fiance' Grady, is instead at his funeral on the day that was supposed to be their wedding day because he died in a tragic accident. As time goes by, she begins to learn things about Grady that she never knew, wondering just what kind of man she had been prepared to marry.

Unable to afford the rent on the nice apartment her and Grady leased together, Gray moves in with Grady's friends Sam, Dennis and the temporary roommate Fritz, who has his own place in L.A. Turns out at least two of the guys have feelings for her: one is in love with her and has been for years, and the other is in lust, but maybe more? As to be expected, Gray turns to the one in lust, lonely for human contact but not looking for anything permanent after her recent loss. All the roommates reach a point where losing Grady forces them to break away from their safe shells and take a chance on something, whether it's confessing one's feelings or becoming responsible, and not using each other as an excuse not to grow up.

My thoughts (and possible spoilers):

This movie was a lot better than I was expecting, let me just say that right now. Based on the description, I thought it was going to be incredibly depressing and end with one of those chick lit endings that irritate me so much, where the heroine is left to move on and hopefully find happiness again one day. Hey, I'm a romance reader. I want my happy ending, dammit. And fortunately for me, I did get one.

Unlike Kati, who hated the ending because she felt Gray picked the wrong guy, I felt less strongly that she chose the wrong one. Mostly. It was not a black and white decision for me because even though Gray went for the bad boy, he wasn't so bad after all. It's just that the other guy was such a good guy, and he truly loved her. This was another case of the supposedly more "exciting" guy to end up with the girl, but instead of letting him stay a jerk, he became rather decent, making it hard to hate him, and you could tell he cared for her, too. But the other guy! He's the kind of guy you wish you'd meet in RL: considerate, unselfish, good-looking, and not necessarily too good to be true, either. I'm sure he was set in his ways and not quite as exciting as the bad boy, but he was the keeper kind. It pretty much reinforces the notion that women don't want a nice guy. That's what disappointed me. I didn't hate that Gray chose the bad boy, but it sure would have been refreshing if she chose the nice guy instead. Plus, he stayed a good guy throughout the film, and still got his heart broken. Yet it wouldn't have made sense if he found someone else by the end of the film; then his character wouldn't have rang true.

It's an endearing film, and it was nice to see Kevin Smith in a speaking role for a change. I haven't seen all of his movies, but the ones I have are the ones where he's Silent Bob. I enjoyed his Sammy, and he does have a teddy bear appeal to him. Not hawt, but certainly likable. In fact I found all the characters to be this way, except for Grady, but then, well, he was dead, so that took care of that.

Cute movie and I'm glad I watched it. Just what I was in the mood for. I might even buy it. Doesn't seem like there are too many good romantic movies out there these days.

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

What recent romantic movie would you recommend?



  1. I have not seen any romantic comedies to write home about in the last year. LOL Whenever I see one that I may be interested in I forget about it. Can you tell I'm not a movie person.

    BTW how was the Get Together this weekend? I was so upset about missing it and can't wait for next year.

  2. Hey, Stacy! Welcome back! I hope you had a great time at the Lori Foster event.

    I *really* liked this movie!! Timothy Olyphant...sigh. I loved him in HBO's Deadwood!

  3. Hey Stacy:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the film and the providing the linkage. That is so very kind of you.

    I've been on the fence about seeing this movie myself. I think I'm still on the fence! lololol

    Seriously, I'm so happy you enjoyed it and hope you had an awesome time at the Lori Foster Get Together. According to AmyC a good time was enjoyed by all. ;)

    Have a great day and week.


  4. I remember seeing this advertised before it came out at the theaters and then it just kind of didn't get any buzz and I forgot who was in it. Thanks for the review (and Lea for the kissing scene) I think this is one I'll have to get.

  5. Glad you liked it! What Happens in Vegas exceeded my expectations, and I really enjoyed that one! I also loved The Holiday with Jude Law and Cameron Diaz and How to Lose a Guy in 10 days. Because I said so was good, but worth it to see Gabriel Macht (The Spirit).

    We are have a girls night out in a few weeks to see The Proposal, Sandra Bullock and RYAN REYNOLDS!!!!

    Hope you had a great time at Lori Foster's!

    Barbara, I didn't know he was in Deadwood, must check that out.

  6. Hi Stacy :)

    I thought the same thing that this wouldn't have the HEA at the end. I was hoping for one for the same reason, and I was happy to see that it did, therefore I really enjoyed the movie!

  7. Patty, it was great. I'm going to be posting about it tomorrow & Wednesday, with several pictures. I'm so proud of myself for taking some this year.

    Barbara, I had a fabulous time, and I'll be blogging about it this week.

    Lea, you haven't even seen the movie???? It's a good film, and I'm so glad I saw that clip at your blog. Btw, you were heavily complimented at Lori's event. Readers and authors just adore you.

    Kristie, that's how I was. When it really seemed to fizzle I just forgot about it, and the premise sounded a little depressing, but it's actually not. I'm so glad I saw it.

    Cindy, I do want to see "The Proposal". It looks pretty good. I'm in serious need of a good romantic movie that I haven't already seen.

    Hey Miss Amy :) Can I just say that you and your mom are just lovely? I wish we had more time to spend together. We kinda ditched the luau, and I feel bad about that, especially since you got me the lei. I'll keep it as a reminder of meeting one of my favorite bloggers.

  8. Stacy, you were at the Get Together and I don't think I got to meet you. Dang!

    Are you going to come back next year?

    You missed the luau? Then you missed Amy and Sally rocking the hula hoop and Amy hula dancing. ; -)

  9. Yep Jen, I was there. 5th year in a row, and God willing I'll be back next year. It's the one event guaranteed to bring me back :) And I did miss Amy & Sally hula-ing. What a shame LOL.

    Who were you sitting with?

  10. I was sitting with Anne Rainey. Lora Leigh was sitting at our table some. The table next to us had Janice Maynard. The other table by us had Joey Hill and Emma Holly. I was near the raffle table. Where were you sitting?

    I missed the first year. I didn't know anything about it. I was there in 2006 & 2007 but missed last year because of work. I was bound and determined to go this year. I think this year was probably the best year yet.

  11. Ohh, this is a lovely reminder of the 'rom com' genre! I used to see rom coms all the time when I lived in the UK, but not at all since I've been back in NZ. Maybe because my friends here are rom com fans.

    Hmmm, the last I saw was Pride & Prejudice. I adore The Notebook, but it is definitely a weepy movie!

  12. Jen, when you walked into the room, we were to the right, in the NE corner. Close to the Ann Christopher basket with that cool digital camera. Beth Kery & Julie James were at my table.

    Orannia, I saw both those movies and just loved them. Classics. Need more like them.

  13. I haven't seen this movie in a long time, but I get what you're saying. I think the thing that made me like Gray w/ Fritz is that she really & truly had no chemistry with the guy who loved her. I mean, she was friends w/ him, but I never saw any chemistry between them in a sexual way.

    On the other hand, DEFINITE chemistry between her & yummy. So funny, because I don't really think the guy who played Fritz is all that hot, but in this movie? Yes! Esp. that kiss you mention. *fans self*

  14. Bridget, that is very true. Gray and Fritz definitely had chemistry - very steamy chemistry. The other guy was clearly in the "friend" camp in that sense.

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