Summer Catch

"Weak"

Summer Catch Review


Kids today, they don't just want to see heartthrob and master thespian Freddie Prinze Jr. loving on the ladies. No, they want to see him doing something that takes a little more in the acting department: namely, playing baseball.

Through a series of drippy voiceovers, we are informed that there's no better proving ground for Major League Baseball than the Cape Cod summer baseball leagues, where college also-rans and hopeful dropouts go to play in the hopes of attracting big league attention. Our man Freddie has landed a spot as a pitcher on the prestigious Chatham A's, where he is hoping for his big break.

It's only after he is given ample time to show off his abs and scamper about in a woman's thong (don't ask) that we learn what the real story of Summer Catch will be: That Prinze is a poor townie named Ryan Dunne, struggling to make a name for himself; that neither his father (Fred Ward) nor brother (Jason Gedrick) pulled themselves out of their blue collar jobs and resent anyone who tries; and that the local beauty Tenley -- Tenley! (Jessica Biel) -- is so far out of his league that he probably shouldn't even bother... but of course he makes a play for her.

Summer Catch also makes an abortive stab at another half a dozen subplots -- the jealousy of fellow townie and brazen slut Dee Dee (Brittany Murphy), the alienation felt by Ryan's non-baseball playing best friend (Gabriel Mann), or the fat chick fetish of fellow player Miles (Marc Blucas). Worst of these is a ludicrous bit involving That '70s Show's Wilmer Valderrama and Beverly D'Angelo, both of whom appear in the film simply to provide a nutty Mrs. Robinson-like substory and to remind you of how much better done that was in Bull Durham.

In fact, virtually all of Summer Catch feels like it's been done better somewhere else. For starters, the film has a major question of identity. It's definitely not a sports movie, and it fails pretty miserably at being a romance. The worst part is the amateurish script (co-written by an Arli$$ writing alumnus and a guy that starred in Leprechaun 3), chock-full of phony emotion. By the end, it all becomes a platform for each character to deliver a soliloquy to Ryan that he must take to heart. Dad is on hand to give fatherly yet drunken advice. Coach (Brian Dennehy, just loving the fact that he's got some work on the big screen) is on hand to give the curmudgeonly counterpoint. Ryan's catcher (Matthew Lillard, playing himself again) is on hand to tell Ryan to "play catch" with him and make fun of the fat fetish guy. Ryan's stoner best friend is on hand to give the go-get-'em-tiger-we're-behind-you talk. And the girlfriend is on hand to give heartwarming-nuzzly-follow-your-dreams counsel. Before long, you start to wonder: Is Freddy Prinze Jr. is capable of having a thought of his own?

Don't answer that.

The only real joy in the film is found in Biel's character, and not just because of the skimpy outfits, which are also usually wet. She's the only one in the movie that is able to do much with her role, taking the rebelling-against-daddy character to at least a passing grade. When she's on screen, the time flies by. When she's not, you realize that for some ungodly reason this movie is almost two hours long. For a PG-13 teen romance (despite near-constant sexual innuendo), one has to ask Warner Brothers: what were you thinking???

For her part, Biel has fallen so far from her 7th Heaven roots that she has almost become Denise Richards. Hollywood is either about to eat her alive... or vice versa. Either way, good luck, Jessica. As for Freddie, if he keeps pumping teen romances out at the rate of two a year, Prinze's next "summer catch" is liable to be a venereal disease.

Summer Catch fans (you're out there, right?) will find bonus footage on the DVD, along with a decent commentary from Biel, director Mike Tollin, and writer John Gatins. Alas, no extra Biel footage, if you catch my drift...

Two strikes.



Summer Catch

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th August 2001

Box Office USA: $19.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $19.7M

Budget: $34M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Tollin/Robbins Productions, Warner Brothers

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 84

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr. as Ryan Dunne, as Tenley Parrish, as Sean Dunne, as Billy Brubaker, as John Schiffner, as Mike Dunne, as Dede Mulligan, as Rand Parrish, as Miles Dalrymple

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.