Summer Catch

Oh, to be Freddie Prinze, Jr. No matter what kind of movie he makes, young women will flock to see it just to see him. Well, most of the movies he makes lately are bad, and even his fans are beginning to realize this. In each subsequent film, his character ages more and fewer people watch him. So maybe that's why he's now back in his college years in Summer Catch, another mark against Prinze in his ever-growing canon of bad movies. Summer Catch tries to be a romance story and a baseball story and utterly fails at both. This is because of cliched storytelling, a bad plot, simple dumb characters and mediocre acting.

Prinze (Head Over Heels, Boys and Girls) is Ryan Dunne, a college pitcher. He is earning his chance to bust his chops in Cape Cod's elite Baseball League, a prestigious launching pad for future major league stars. Dunne is the first local boy from Chatham to participate in the League for years, usually the best college players from around the country fly in. He had his shot before, but personal issues in his life prevented him from fulfilling his goals. He works for his father Sean (Fred Ward, Joe Dirt, Road Trip), a local gardener. In his job he meets Tenley (Ulee's Gold, I'll Be Home for Christmas), the daughter of wealthy Rand Parrish (Bruce Davison, crazy/beautiful, The King is Alive). After the normal bickering, the two fall in love, much to the consternation of Rand. The essence of his argument is that he does not want Tenley mingling with the help. Oh no! And without Tenley, Dunne's problem is resurfacing and he is choking in front of a number of major league scouts. Oh no!

Screenwriters Kevin Falls (Julip, Scrubs) and John Gatins (Hardball) populate Dunne's team with a group of annoying players, each distinguishable by one characteristic. One has no shame (Matthew Lillard, Love's Labour's Lost, Wing Commander), one likes really fat women, one is really shy around women, one is cocky, and the list continues. There are clashes between Dunne's local friends and his new friends on the team, but none of it is too interesting. Tenley wants to go into architecture, but her father looks down upon her decision and wants her in investment banking. Uh, okay. Summer Catch worsens as it nears its conclusion. No one cares about any of the characters, and one wishes the movie would just end. One horrible scene around the end has Prinze stressing on the pitcher's mound with the camera circling him. Meanwhile, voices from the movie call out in his head, encouraging him. Ugh.

There are many actors here with potential talent. The best being Brittany Murphy (Trixie, Cherry Falls), an actor usually unrecognizable from one role to the next. Sadly, her role here gives her nothing to do except act like a tramp. Lillard is a little more amusing, but also has little to work with. Because of the script, Biel's character appears weak, thus giving her no real chance to act. And Prinze? He uses the same expressions he uses in every film to convey feelings but end up making him look confused. He is a large reason why Summer Catch is not fun to watch. His character is not interesting, and is more likely to inspire exasperation from the audience instead of the presumably intended sympathy. Prinze is needs to work on expressing emotions differently. His angry is similar to his sad is similar to his happy. So unless the sight of him in a woman's thong is appealing, stay away from Summer Catch.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 48 minutes Rated PG-13 for sexual content including language and some drinking.

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