Summer Catch (2001)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Sports Comedy, Sports Drama, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Aug 24, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The Freddie Prinze Jr. movie has become a category unto itself: constructed with basic genre efficiency and zero sticking power. That's a good way to summarize Summer Catch, an agreeable enough but totally predictable baseball romance that has all the impact of a foul-out to the catcher. Because audiences have grown bored of this lazy enslavement to the status quo, Summer Catch took a beanball to the head from critics. Obviously inspired by Bull Durham -- to the point of having a pitcher don ladies' undergarments, a la Tim Robbins' Nuke LaLoosh -- Summer Catch does occasionally scrounge together some of that film's baseball-in-the-sticks charm. The renowned Cape Cod league for college players is a nice focal point for this brand of sentimentality, and the characters are not all egregious stereotypes. Prinze is fine, perennial collaborator Matthew Lillard is plenty goofy, and Jessica Biel is just enough more than a pretty face to connect. But it all adds up to very little, because nothing feels challenging, funny, or memorable -- just tepid and safe. One can barely mount the energy to curse the film up and down for its faults, because no one moment inspires howls of disbelief. It's just vanilla -- not the good kind of vanilla, but rather, the stale pint at the back of the freezer case, ignored and unseen.