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Summer Catch (2001)

Originally Reviewed 
Sunday October 8, 2006

Not many have probably seen or heard of this film but surprisingly enough it actually brought in around 17 million dollars in the box office, sure that's not a lot but for this film that is pretty impressive considering how bad it was. Only thing I can attribute those sales amounts too is the now dwindling fan base of Freddie Prinze Jr, who is now more likely to be seen on VH1's, Where Are They Now? The only reason I even bothered renting this film was Jessica Biel. After seeing her in The Illusionist I thought I'd give some of her other films a shot. Supposedly this is a romantic comedy, if that's true it's the worst romantic comedy I have ever seen.

Freddie Prinze Jr. is Ryan Dunn a local of Cape Cod and an aspiring major league baseball player. Cape Cod is home to the one of the elite baseball league's which turns out multiple major league stars each season. It's an extreme privilege to be asked to participate and after screwing up some good opportunities in his college career Ryan gets the once in a life-time opportunity to show what he's got, and this is his last chance.

Ryan is an extremely talented pitcher, but he's got a lot of baggage. His brother was an aspiring baseball player but couldn't cut it and now is a bartender in the local dive. His father is also a relative failure in his eyes, as he mows the lawns of all the rich people’s summer homes, something Ryan has been helping him out with as well. To make matters worse the recent death of his mother only made him even more depressed and it was easy to see that Ryan had lost a lot of faith in himself and his talent.

All this self doubt was not helping Ryan at all on the baseball field as an excellent first few innings would soon turn into a fight against himself to play the game he thought he could. It doesn't take much for Ryan to get himself down and soon he's accepting that he might just be cutting peoples lawns for the rest of his life, that is until he meets Tenley Parrish (Jessica Biel). A daughter of one of the rich summer home owners whose lawn he cuts, Ryan and Tenley seem to instantly fall in love. Things appear to be going well until Ryan discovers Tenley has never mentioned him to her father, and it's not a surprise that her father doesn't approve of Tenley dating the lawn boy and this extra drama doesn't help Ryan out much with his already towering problems. With the last game of the season quickly approaching Ryan has one last chance to turn his flip flop season into something special and save his relationship with the girl he loves.

The main problem with Summer Catch is it's a combination of three genres that are each horribly assembled. Summer Catch isn't a romantic comedy; it's crappy teen comedy meets The Rookie, meets Fox Family channel romantic comedy. The crappy teen comedy comes from too many stupid scenes involving Ryan’s teammates who are simply moronic, crude, and add nothing to the film but only bogs down an already horrible story. The Rookie part of the story is really the meat of the film, with Ryan trying to make it into the major leagues. This aspect of the film is so poorly written you never feel sorry for the character and almost turns into a more The Benchwarmers quality story than a heart felt drama. Finally you have the romance side which is the smallest piece in this film. It's the typical story of poor boy falls for rich girl and daddy doesn't like it, but it's again so poorly executed that it feels more like it was thrown into the story simply to have a reason to have a few nice shots of Jessica Biel.

In the end, Summer Catch isn't worth thinking about watching, Jessica Biel was the only good thing in the film and she only had a couple of nice scenes. The chemistry between the characters was horrible and the love story between Prinze and Biel didn't seem remotely legit and was always thrown in on random occassions. Freddie Prinze Jr. is very sub par as an actor and even less believable as a baseball player. Even the last ten minutes, which are the best in the film, it can't pull itself out of the deep pit that it dug itself into. If your looking for a good baseball film or romantic comedy it's no where close to here, and frankly this movie makes a Disney Channel Original Movie, look like Oscar worthy material.


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