Jennifer Garner, who TV audiences know as an action heroine in the series "Alias," turns on her romantic side for a new film about secrets, relationships and finding 'the right' person. Alan Silverman has a look at Catch and Release.
Gray Wheeler was about to celebrate the marriage to her perfect match, Grady; but just before the wedding he dies in an accident and, instead of vows, she finds herself delivering a eulogy at his funeral. That, it turns out, is the easy part. Gray discovers there were things ...important things ...she did not know about Grady, such as a mysterious million-dollar bank account.
But there is more. Despite the efforts of Grady's best friend, she learns the biggest secret: a relationship with another woman.
Going through the stages of grief turns out to be even more complicated for Gray when she finds herself drawn to her fiance's childhood buddy Fritz - a guy whom she had previously pegged as a worthless playboy and a bad influence.
Jennifer Garner stars as Gray and she does not think it was simply a matter of the character choosing the wrong guy.
"I don't necessarily know that Gray did make the wrong choice in Grady," says Garner. "I think that she had to go through the hardest time in her life, which is something I think all of us can relate to, in order to really become who she was going to be and to be her full self. Not that she had to lose Grady; it didn't have to be that hard, but for her the silver lining of losing Grady was learning about him and learning about herself."
Timothy Olyphant co-stars as Fritz, who the audience first meets at the funeral when he sneaks off for a passionate liaison with one of the caterers.
"I think that he's dealing with loss a little bit differently than I like to think I would at this point in my life, but he's dealing with it ...and I think that, hopefully, is the thing that allows people to connect to it," Olyphant says.
Catch and Release is written and directed by Susannah Grant and Garner believes the film definitely has a woman's touch.
"I love women, so it was so wonderful to have a woman at the helm," Garner says. "She really brought this energy to the set of collaboration and calmness and fun. You couldn't ruffle her. There was never a time I saw her yell. Whatever curve ball was thrown at her, she kind of went 'huh, okay ...let me think.' Her energy was wonderful."
But if you want to ruffle writer-director Grant, just call it a 'chick flick.'
"Isn't somebody going to get bored with that soon? It just seems so boring," she says.
Although Grant acknowledges the target audience for the film is young women, what she really dislikes is labeling it as that.
"I'm not a fan of any label that feels reductive and that one feels a little reductive," she says. "It feels like we've got to come up with another question. I've answered that one for every movie I've ever written. Is this a chick flick? I don't know."
But star Garner embraces the idea.
"I love 'chick flicks.' I'm one of three sisters. I like chicks. I like chicks to go to the movies together," she says. " I think this is a movie where you should take your girlfriend, your sister, your mom, your daughter and go and watch it. You'll laugh, you'll definitely have a tear and you'll feel good ...you'll think a little bit and you'll say 'my husband ...is there something I don't know?'"
Catch and Release also features Kevin Smith as Gray's wise-cracking and occasionally wise friend. Juliette Lewis plays the woman from Grady's shadowy past. The soundtrack is full of romantic soft rock designed to appeal to the film's target, young female audience.