This is a film about losing love and finding the courage to grasp it again.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, one for the sentimentals in our midst and yet from the outset it must be stated bluntly that 'Catch and Release' is an arduous film to wade through.
It all starts with a funeral.
Gray Wheeler's (Garner) fiancé dies on the night before what would have been their wedding day. So we begin with our heroine somewhat unexpectedly distraught from what was supposed to be the best day of her life. To Garner's credit she handles the early narrative very credibly as the woman traumatised and full of anguish.
During the wake Gray eventually escapes to an empty bathroom to be on her own, only for her torment to be further compounded when one of her fiancé's friends, Fritz (Olyphant), whom she has never liked, has sex in the bathroom with a catering girl while she sits alone in the bathtub. Well thank God for the shower curtains, and although the film tries sporadically to lift our spirits, ultimately it is drowned in the sea of depression it cannot escape from.
In the days after the funeral, Gray is living with her dead fiancé's two best friends, Dennis (Jaeger), who is privately in love with her, and Sam (Smith), who provides a much needed respite of carefree entertainment for the characters and the audience.
However soon after, and much too soon after for some, Gray strikes up an unlikely friendship with Fritz. It is not too long until they are together, much to the fleeting disapproval of friends and family of the deceased. Indeed with the exception of a few glances when she isn't looking, none of the other characters seem to really care that much either.
However, when it turns out that Gray's dead fiancé had a child and a lover (Lewis) in Los Angeles that no one but her new man knew about, we are left with the tried and tested scenario of will they or won't they end up together?
Perhaps I am giving the film too little credit but it does seem to go on another lifetime before it finishes. The pivotal romance lacks tangible chemistry and it is difficult to care in the slightest about either of the central characters. A slow moving film that struggles to stir the interest of the audience and ultimately fails to pull at the heartstrings.