SUMMER CATCH isn't. A lackluster twist on the old baseball classic BULL DURHAM,
the movie features a bunch of young heartthrobs cast to attract just the right
demographics. It stars pretty boy Freddie Prinze Jr. who has one of least
impressive track records around. The only movie that I ever remember liking him
in was SHE'S ALL THAT.
As directed by Michael Tollin and written by Kevin Falls and John Gatins, the
picture doesn't have a single original idea. "Practice Like Champions Today"
reads the sign in the locker room. The spoken dialog isn't much better.
The film has trouble deciding what kind of movie it wants to be. Sometimes, it
wants to be a cleaned up version of PORKY'S. To accomplish that with a PG-13
rating, the guys don thong bikini panties -- don't ask -- to show off their
derrières, and the girls are seen in bras and wet T-shirts. At other times, the
movie thinks it's about the sport of baseball with serious scouts in the stands
hanging on every pitch. Still other times, it tries to be a study of the
debilitating effects of class consciousness in America, as some of the actors
show 100-year-old English class sensibilities.
Ryan Dunne (Prinze), who mows lawns with his father, has his big chance this
summer. Playing in a supposedly very important collegiate summer league, which
has less than a hundred fans, Ryan hopes to be picked up by a major league team.
Ryan is one of the few residents of his Cape Cod town who have absolutely no
After vowing in the opening to "swear off woman and booze," Ryan gets plastered
and falls asleep on the playing field with Dede (Brittany Murphy from GIRL,
INTERRUPTED). Shortly thereafter, Ryan moves upscale, going from waitress Dede
to blueblood Tenley Parrish (Jessica Biel), who is a card-carrying member of the
local gentry. Tenley wants to be an architect, but her cruel father is shipping
her off to San Francisco to join an investment banker firm. She is an adult who
feels powerless to resists her father's instructions. (When you've stopped
crying, you can continue reading.) Her father is played by an overacting Bruce
Davison, who recently was so effective as the father of a rebellious girl in
CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL. Ryan's clichéd, alcoholic father is played by Fred Ward. The
only semi-decent performance in the picture comes from Brian Dennehy as Ryan's
There isn't one scintilla of chemistry between the love birds and not much
between Ryan and the sport with which he is supposedly so infatuated. The
ending will likely have baseball fans shaking their heads in disbelief.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes