“Catch and Release,” review by Joanna Langfield

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The more I think about this movie, the more annoyed I get. Written and directed by Susannah Grant, who did such a great job with Erin Brockovich, and starring the inimitable Jennifer Garner, this catch should have been a sparkling mid-winter release.

Ah, but good intentions and a good pedigree do not necessarily a good film make!

Here’s the set-up. Jen’s fiancé dies on his bachelor party escapade. Shaken, she retreats to the bathroom, post-funeral, only to get caught hiding in the tub while boyfriend’s slick best friend shtoops a waitress over the sink. Naturally, in this glossy world of Hollywood love stories, he turns out to be Mr. Right, while said dead guy, it seems, was kind of Mr. Wrong.

It’s not the Grant didn’t try to make this one a bit more interesting. There is a funky edge to the proceedings that is appealing but all too quickly just doesn’t hold up. Jen and her inherited family of fiance’s best buds are shocked to learn, posthumously, he had big bucks, but come on, guys, didn’t anybody ever notice his mom’s mega-manse? And Boulder, the artsy setting for the proceedings, soon becomes a tangle of shoppes, breathtaking and secluded beaches and such a fabulous place even landlords add smiley faces to their “rent due” notices.

Garner’s indestructible charm is tested here, and don’t even get me started on why Juliette Lewis keeps having to play quirky, but likeable, women with very short skirts. And, not that I’m suspicious or anything, but isn’t it convenient that the slick hunk who turned out to be not so bad just happens to live in an oh-so perfect house on the Malibu beach?

The only real spark of genuine surprise comes from Kevin Smith, stealing the show in his first substantial movie performance. His haunted good natured goof ball makes for the kind of friend who all know and, in truth, wish we all had.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).