The opening scene of Catch and Release is a funeral reception ... on what was supposed to be a wedding day. A tragic accident befell the groom during his bachelor-party weekend. We see the florist accidentally bringing wedding bouquets instead of funeral flowers, a multi-tiered cake stashed in a refrigerator, and a very sad young woman in black instead of white. She escapes to a bathroom and hides in the tub to cry, but suddenly is interrupted by a laughing couple who ducks into the bathroom for a quickie. The combination of touching drama and absurd comedy is excellent and promises a good quirky movie, full of dysfunction, dark humor and the unexpected.
Unfortunately, Catch and Release doesn't fulfill the potential of that well-balanced opening, and ultimately turns into a typical contemporary romantic comedy, with the stress on the romantic. It's still an interesting movie to watch, but the cliches can be a little grating at times, and even as a romantic comedy it never reaches the level of, say, The Truth about Cats and Dogs.
The film is set in Boulder, which provides a charming background that's a pleasant change of pace from LA/New York. After her fiance's funeral, Gray (Jennifer Garner) tries to return to as normal a life as possible. She moves in with her two male buddies, Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger). Gray finds out that her fiance was secretly a millionaire, and that every month he sent money to some unknown person. Grady's California friend Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) sticks around to help Gray deal with these revelations, and maybe because he likes her, too. Is he becoming another friend, or something more?