ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  michael tollin

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  romance

LENGTH  -  108 minutes

RELEASED  -  24 august 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  summer catch

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $17,000,000
summer catch - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from summer catch at

buy the dvd from summer catch at

a rich girl whose family summers on cape cod has a romance with a local poor boy who hopes to become a major league baseball player.

real-life baseball player, christopher rosado (a boston college graduate), appears briefly as the left-fielder on ryan dunne's team.


picture from summer catch

picture from summer catch

picture from summer catch


zero out of four possible stars

Freddie Prinze Jr. must have a very specific set of requirements regarding the films he takes roles in. Badly written, badly cast, and always bordering on the mundane, Prinze should have a category of film all his own. The Freddie Prinze lame teenager movie genre. He has yet to prove his acting skills in any film more challenging than the lamentable Wing Commander, and with a live-action "Scooby-Doo" film on the way, it doesn't seem as though Fred is looking into any more challenging projects. If anything, he should be commended for having taken the initiative to become king of the teenage romance comedies.

It is always possible that Prinze is just adding to his bank account by starring in these cookie cutter films and that he will commence a serious acting career in the future, but Summer Catch is definitely not one of his better ventures. Prinze has a habit of portraying his characters with such a fake veneer, and it's unknown why he was cast opposite the equally lifeless and posturing Jessica Biel, who plays his love interest. Actually, that was a stupid comment. Everything in Hollywood hinges on the appearance of the characters. But sometimes a bit of intelligence thrown into the mix, or, dare we say it, acting ability, can inject some life into a routine summer flick

Cliché filled and poorly cast, Summer Catch reads like the manual of how not to make a movie. First, is the annoying friend, played by the over-thirty and perpetual Prinze sidekick, Matthew Lillard. And to think, Lillard actually went to acting school and the only employment he can find is being second banana to Freddie Prinze. Also included in the cookie-cutter cast is the vapid town slut, played by the usually talented Brittany Murphy. She plays Lillard's love interest, and like the headlining couple, the two don't have a lot of chemistry together.

Since this movie is about baseball, one would think that the sport would be a focus for the film, or at least something for the filmmakers to fall back on when the dramatic arts weren't working. But the baseball sequences in this movie are quite flat. Perhaps this lack of energy in the baseball scenes was created specifically to match the lifeless characters. Unfortunately, this film won't reach the audience emotionally because there is no emotion in it. Due mostly to the strange casting, but also to the little amount of realism in the portrayal of the famous Cape Cod baseball teams. The film was actually made several hundred miles from Massachusetts, in North Carolina. Now, that state is a beautiful area, but it looks like the South, not New England.

And it probably isn't even worth mentioning the horrible use of accents in the film. The Cape Cod locals in the film don't show a trace of a New England accent, and those who try, really don't come close to how the real people actually sound. It's easy to say that since the film is a fiction, that exactness in things like accents is purely superfluous, but because the location of the film is mentioned so frequently throughout the film, it seems that the dialect coach, Tammy Arnold, should have been more aware of how people on and around Cape Cod speak. Or, if she was an expert in those accents, she should have found a better way to make Freddie Prinze Jr., who plays one of the locals, drop all the R's in his speech.

But this concern really isn't what breaks the film. Movies take place in foreign countries like ancient Italy and in Russia and magically, everyone has an English accent. What causes this film to drop the ball is the lack of effort put into the overall product. The characters are weak and cliché ridden, as is the story. There is no passion surrounding any of the characters and as a consequence, the movie lacks the energy needed for a sports movie. The enthusiasm in these characters is so low, in fact, that many of the supporting actors bring their most forgettable characters to the screen.

One wonders what brought Brian Dennehy to this picture. It might have been a case of the script looking a lot better on the page than in the camera, or perhaps the presence of Freddie Prinze Jr. creates an automatic strikeout as far as good acting is concerned. Maybe his lack of talent bleeds onto the rest of the cast, causing a normally good group of actors to appear as though they've never been in front of the camera. Whatever the reason for this film's failure, it just doesn't show any the zeal and fascination with baseball that the real Cape Cod ball players actually have. Baseball is life for some of those people, but in this film, the magic of baseball is hidden behind the cinematic punishment that is Freddie Prinze Jr.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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