Open with a funeral and Gray (Jennifer Garner) voicing over how the last words to his dearly departed fiancee Grady should have been of a more pleasant tone... spoken by someone clearly in the early stages of coping with the loss of a loved one.
The opening statement and scene -- the wake -- set the basis of Gray's overcoming the loss, with the help of, and in spite of, those around her: Grady's mom, roommates Dennis (Sam Jaeger)and Sam (Kevin Smith), and his buddy from Los Angeles, Fritz (Timothy Olyphant).
The tempo and characters are very watchable. Whether it's Gray battling annoyance with Fritz, the pettiness of the roommates bickering, and the sudden awareness that her dead fiancee had money, and then seeing it disappearing to support a child in Los Angeles, kept things moving. The circumstances were fairly credible, so it didn't take a huge leap of faith to see Gray being caught off-guard by the possibility that her fiancee had a life and relationships beyond the world she shared with him.
The running theme of not really knowing the person you're with, alive or not, was present in several of the threads within "Catch and Release." A few others were living in the shallow water and what you see is what you get.
Jennifer Garner is always a delight to watch, of course, and I spent the entire film trying to place her leading man Fritz (who struck me as looking a whole lot like Johnny Knoxville, though it isn't).
Kevin Smith brings humor and charm to his roles, even if he only imparts random bits of wisdom, a la Silent Bob. (In this fare, his character is the guy who places the inspirational and other quotes on the sides of Celestial Seasonings tea, which would explain his entire wardrobe being Celestial's t-shirts, his mugs all branded, and the like.) For the Kevin Smith fans, yes, he does even manage to sneak in a few lines of dialogue about Star Wars as he battles with Mattie, the lovechild son of Grady's.
I enjoyed it, which I think may be a bold statement considering I was one of only two guys in the mid-afternoon theatre packed with mom-daughter groups and ladies out for an afternoon at the picture show.
The movie has that date film feel, but not such that you're feeling sickeningly like you're sitting through a Hallmark-sponsored event. The characters and situations bring the story home, delivering it in such a way that it's charming and pleasant, even if the reason they're gathering is a bit darker. (And while I didn't pole the retired gentleman about his view on it, given he flew in solo and left in good spirits, that it's a crowd pleaser for light, feel-good entertainment all around.)