(Author's Note: Something new at Brevity. Click on "Advanced Screenings Guide" to find general tips and specific links to Because I Said So, Breach, Ghost Rider, The Last Sin Eater, The Messengers, Music and Lyrics, Norbit, The Number 23, and Starter for 10. I'll add more movies and cities. Check back for updates.)
Where have the romantic comedy heroines gone? Julia Roberts is off having kids. Sandra Bullock is pursuing dramas. Meg Ryan is... well, I don't know. So who's stepping in to fill our quota of pratfalls? Jennifer Garner gives it a go in Catch and Release.
I see two problems in calling this movie a romantic comedy: I found it not very romantic and only occasionally funny. The film opens with Gray (Garner) in mourning when her fiancé dies during some outdoor bachelor trek, and the wedding day becomes a wake. Unable to afford the place they planned to live, she moves in with friends Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger).
She comes into conflict with Fritz (Timothy Olyphant), a friend of her fiancé that she doesn't know as well. Naturally, he knows the dark secrets of the deceased; some massage therapist (Juliette Lewis) and her 4-year-old son enter the picture. May I just say: ugh. I think Olyphant always seems kind of skeevy, and I have no idea why filmmakers keep casting Lewis. No matter the role, she plays the same character: drugged, ditzy, and annoying.
I did like the film's use of Boulder, Colorado as its setting. While at times it felt like a Subaru commercial, the town looked terrific and real. I don't know if the movie will work tourist magic the way that, say, Mork and Mindy might have.
On a final note, I greatly appreciated the inside joke of having Kevin Smith's character frequently wear generic sports gear with the number 37. (It didn't escape my attention, Silent Bob.)