Summer Catch (2001)
Main cast: Freddie Prinze, Jr (Ryan Dunne), Jessica Biel (Tenley Parrish), Fred Ward (Sean Dunne), Bruce Davison (Rand Parrish), Jason Gedrick (Mike Dunne), Brittany Murphy (Dede Mulligan), Marc Blucas (Miles Dalrymple), Matthew Lillard (Billy "Bru" Brubake), Brian Dennehy (Coach John Schiffner), Corey Pearson (Eric Van Leemer), Christian Kane (Dale Robin), Wilmer Valderrama (Mickey "Domo" Dominguez)
Director: Michael Tollin
Oh Freddie. Fire your agent before he typecasts you as the King of Bad Teen Movies. Oops, too late already. Summer Catch must thinks itself the new Footloose-meets-baseball for the 21st century. Alas, unlike those teen angst movies of the days of John Hughes, this one just doesn't have it at all. It here refers to pacing, chemistry, fiery acting, and genuine moving teen angst all in a package.
Ryan Dunne wants to play baseball in a major league. A lawnboy, he also wants to mow the lawn of the daughter of the rich man whose house he works at. If you think the lawn joke is bad, tell the movie folks, they make it a running joke through the whole movie. That's it for plot. A more actual and realistic recap of the story will be like this:
1. Ryan and Tenley have sex and discuss their issues.
2. Baseball game.
3. Ryan screws up.
4. Baseball guys get drunk, have sex, and act obnoxious.
5. Repeat 1, 2, 3, and 4 until people either die of coma or beat the poor guy behind the film projector black and blue.
Where should I start? Firstly, there is no pace. This movie is as slow as drugged slugs in a cross country marathon. I always thought baseball a silly game, but this movie makes it excruciatingly slow, unexciting, and outright dull. Secondly, the main characters have no chemistry. No, vacant stares don't count. Thirdly, using all the annoying plot devices overused already in previous teen dramas and coupling that with inane dialogues straight out of a bad Kung Fu episode make me ill. "Why are you so afraid of being yourself?" is an annoying one that is bandied around by everybody like a super cool new catchphrase or something.
The only interesting element here is Marc Blucas' character, a hunk who has a fetish for big, big girls. His public defense of big girls needing love and his poetry to one of his girls are hilarious and moving all at once. But Miles Dalrymple, Blucas' character, is pushed to the background for Prize's vacant-eyed chemistry-free face-sucking with Biel. Lillard plays his usual manic sidekick party-nut role, but scriptwriter Kevin Falls doesn't have the brains to come up with killer lines for him. In fact, Falls seems to be under this impression that hackneyed Chinese fortune-cookie messages passed as dialogues are what a coming-of-age teen movie makes.
It doesn't, Falls. It makes a bad, fabricated wannabe movie that has Straight To Reject Bin stamped on it. I only hope Blucas and Lillard will recover from having starred in this awfully boring, disjointed, and tedious movie. Everybody, let's go watch Footloose.
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