Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Catch (2001) [PG-13] **

Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr.) has lived his whole life in the town of Chatham, on Cape Cod, nurturing his dream of becoming a major league baseball pitcher. Each summer as the Cape Cod summer league starts, college players from around the country arrive in Chatham, Wareham, Hyannisport and the other resort towns, filling out the local teams, rooming with local families, and hoping to be seen by the professional scouts who come to the games. Ryan played baseball at Boston College and Framingham State College, washing out of both. This is his last chance, and he's been offered a pitching slot on the Chatham A's. But Ryan took his mother's death very hard; his father Sean (Fred Ward), his brother Mike (Jason Gedrick) and his coach (Brian Dennehy) all wonder whether he still has the drive to succeed.

One day, while mowing lawns for his father's landscaping company, Ryan spies the gorgeous Tenley Parrish (Jessica Biel), who has just graduated from college, is home for the summer, and wants to be an architect. Ryan is instantly love-struck, although this seems unlikely since he must have observed Tenley every summer for the past six years, while mowing her family’s lawns. Tenley falls equally hard for Ryan, although they barely know each other and are from different social and economic strata. We’re never told, but perhaps Tenley is secretly rebelling against her wealthy, controlling father (played by Bruce Davison), who has other plans for her. In any case, from this point on the story's plot is fairly predictable, although Ryan and Tenley's relationship isn't developed very well.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. is a one-expression actor; he has virtually no romantic chemistry with Jessica Biel, although it's not for her lack of effort. Comic relief is provided by Ryan's groupie girlfriend Dee Dee (Brittany Murphy), his catcher from USC, Billy Brubaker (Matthew Lillard), and the virginal Mickey (Wilmer Valderrama), but Ward, Dennehy and Davison are all underutilized or forced into stereotypical roles. Summer Catch is a boring imitation of Bull Durham; don’t waste your time on it. 

Labels: baseball, comedy, drama, romance
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 21/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=32, viewers=52)

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