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Ever since his appearance in SHE’S ALL THAT, Freddie Prinze Jr. has become the undisputed king of the sub-genre I’ve dubbed the "teen romantic comedy." As I popped a copy of SUMMER CATCH ($20) into my DVD player, I was expecting more of the same kind of entertainment. Surprisingly, SUMMER CATCH provides slightly more dramatic depth than the typical Freddie Prinze Jr. movie and the film actually features a number of good actors in supporting roles. Of course, the plot of the movie isn’t particularly original- mixing the tired baseball/buddy formula with an even more tired poor boy/rich girl love story. Well, at least SUMMER CATCH offers a glimpse of actress Jessica Biel in a tiny bikini…

In SUMMER CATCH Prinze portrays Ryan Dunne, the son of a smalltime landscaper on Cape Cod, who dreams of becoming a big league pitcher. Having secured himself a position on the Cape Cod summer league, Ryan hopes this last ditch effort will attract the attention of major league scout. However, complicating matters for Ryan is his summer fling with Tenley Parrish (Biel), the daughter of a snooty rich family, whose lawn Ryan mows when not on the ball field. The supporting cast of SUMMER CATCH includes Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy, Fred Ward, Bruce Davison, Jason Gedrick, Brittany Murphy, Marc Blucas, Wilmer Valderrama and an uncredited Beverly D'Angelo.

Warner Home Video has made SUMMER CATCH available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. As you might expect from a new film, SUMMER CATCH is presented in a very good-looking transfer. The image is sharp, well defined and features strongly saturated colors. Blacks are very well rendered and the picture produces a nice dimensional quality. The source element is free from debris and there is very little apparent grain. Digital compression artifacts never really make their presence known on the cleanly authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a competent mix, but isn’t overdone. Surround usage is a little light, but the forward soundstage is lively enough. Dialogue is crisply rendered and maintains full intelligibility. The bass channel is good enough for the material. Music is well integrated into the mix; never overpowering or being overpowered by other sonic elements. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Director Michael Tollin, wrier John Gatins and actress Jessica Biel show up on a running audio commentary. More than ten minutes of deleted scenes and cast biographies fill out the extras.

SUMMER CATCH is a typical teen programmer that tries to mesh baseball and romance. I am sure the teen target audience will find the film worth checking out.


 Summer Catch


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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