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Summer Catch




Summer Catch has all the classic elements of a cut-rate summer movie. You get Freddie Prinze Jr. and a quazi-dramatic plot involving baseball. That pretty much sums it up, huh?

You think maybe I’m playing hardball? Sure, he’s got that washboard stomach thing goin’ on, but certainly even today’s teenage gals want a pinch of acting ability thrown in with their eye candy, no?

The story, and I use that word in it’s lowest elementary form, revolves around the Chatham A’s, a summer baseball team steeped in tradition. They're the country’s top minor-league ball players, who come together so the pro scouts can check them out in one comfortable local, while also providing a legal tax write-off for the scenic seaside Massachusetts town.

Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr.), a local lawn boy with a history of failure, has been drafted onto the golden team for his exceptional southpaw pitching talents. This is his big chance! Actually it’s his third big chance as loser boy has some heavy self-esteem issues and appears to be a raging alcoholic who is still filled with anger over the loss of his mother. These problems have managed to get him kicked out of two minor-league colleges already. Three strikes...

Summer Catch is filled with belligerent boys who don’t seem to take the opportunity seriously. They go out nearly every night before a big game and get whacked on brewskis, fornicate with some local gals and show up to play some ball the next day. Please. Bull Durham this is not! It’s more like The Bad News Bears: The College Dayz and an annoying, telegraphed snorefest.

There’s not a redeeming, or interesting, fellow in the bunch. But wait, it gets better... Lawn boy/pitcher Ryan’s falling for the rich girl, Tenley (nondescript Jessica Biel), for whom his lowly family mows lawns. So starts that tiresome “The Have Family vs. The Have Not Family” routine, where Mr. Rich is a demeaning self-centered snob and Mr. Palookaville (a.k.a. Ryan) promptly backs down because he’s not worthy of her love.

Um, maybe if he concentrated on his game? Ryan is being offered to go pro ball, which of course means he’d be rich, too. But Ryan’s more into his temper tantrums on the mound, worrying about some Betsy Blueblood he’s just met and drinking as much beer as he possibly can.

If this is what the boys of summer are offering, I say bring on football season--now! Believe me, this is one minor-league, extended-inning waste of time!

Snack Recommendation: Ballpark franks at a BASEBALL GAME, instead of this foul ball extravaganza!

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard, Fred Ward, Jason Gedrick, Gabriel Mann and Bruce Davison

Directed: Michael Tollin


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