The last “girly” movie I gave a positive rating to on DVD was IN HER SHOES, which coincidentally was written by Susannah Grant, who steps up to write and direct CATCH AND RELEASE. The premise is interesting and not as “safe” as most romantic comedies. There are some clichés (such as Juliette Lewis’ zany hippie chick), but for the most part I liked the characters. The movie skirts by the “average” rating on Garner’s likeability alone. I’ve been a fan of hers since the first episode of Alias, and she does a fine job handling the wide-range of emotions. The scene where Gray opens up and reveals all the bad things she’s done in her life is a great comic and dramatic moment, and garners a classic Silent Bob reaction.
Not everything was golden though. The film felt uneven at times, never balancing or committing to being a drama, a romantic comedy or even a straight comedy. In some scenes, the roommates’ wacky hijinks feel like a completely different movie. There was also too many subplots and conflicts, with a new complication introduced every couple minutes. Like the film’s tone, they each worked separately, but just didn’t mesh together that well. However, the biggest hindrance was that I didn’t really buy the main romance between Garner and Timothy Olyphant. You just don’t know what Gray sees in Fritz (…worst names ever, by the way); one minute he’s a sleazy womanizer and then all of a sudden he’s a typical charming Rom-Com male lead. It makes it hard to care about them or their forced chemistry. If anything, you root for her to end up with the other “nice guy” roommate (or at least give Kevin Smith a sympathy jump).
Commentary by writer/director Susannah Grant and Kevin Smith: They shouldn’t even label this a commentary, since it’s more of an interview/conversation between Smith and Grant, complete with the Smith’s foul (albeit censored) mouth. The two barely talk about the movie, but it’s definitely more entertaining than your average commentary.
Commentary by Susannah Grant and cinematographer John Lindley: This is more of your typical commentary track (i.e. they actually talk about the movie at hand). With the occasional pauses and silences, it pales in comparison to the other track. The cinematography was fine; I just don’t think we really needed to hear from the DP about this particular movie.
Extra Tidbit: Ironically enough, Jason Lee was originally up for the Kevin Smith role in CATCH AND RELEASE but opted to do THE INCREDIBLES instead.