In Boulder, Gray Wheeler attends the funeral of her fiancé, Grady, on the day they were supposed to be married. Gray seeks solitude behind a shower curtain, where she unintentionally listens to Grady's best friend, Fritz, having sex with a waitress. Later, Gray visits an attorney to find out what will happen to Grady's estate. Grady did not have a will, and the marriage had not happened, so Gray is not able to inherit his money. The attorney reveals that Grady had an investment account with a million dollars in it, which Gray knew nothing about. Gray realizes that she can no longer afford to rent the house that they had picked out. With the help of Grady's other two close friends Dennis and Sam, she puts her things into storage and moves in with them. Fritz also comes to stay, which causes tension between him and Gray. Gray discovers that Grady transferred $3,000 every month to an unknown person.
Gray finds Grady's cell phone and listens to a string of messages from a woman asking about money. Gray asks Fritz for answers (as the number is California where Fritz lives), and he reveals that Grady had a son, whose mother depended on the money she received from him. Fritz tells Gray that the boy is eight and that he was conceived before she and Grady were involved. Gray is upset further when Grady's mother, Mrs. Douglas, asks her to return her engagement ring. She refuses and keeps the ring. The other woman, Maureen, and her son, Mattie, come looking for Grady. Gray learns that Mattie is actually 4 years old and realises the affair happened while she and Grady were together. Gray confronts Fritz, but they end up in a passionate kiss.
Gray does not want anything to do with Maureen, but the guys are reluctant to send her away, and they all get to know each other. Sam and Maureen develop a connection, while Gray and Fritz have become intimate. On a day trip to a river, Sam teaches Mattie to fly fish, while Dennis admits that he has feelings for Gray. Later, Dennis is upset to learn that Gray and Fritz are an item. Gray tells Dennis that her relationship with Fritz is "less than nothing", not realizing that Fritz can hear her. He believes she does not love him and returns to Malibu.
Grady's mother insists that Mattie take a DNA test before letting him inherit Grady's money. The test shows that Grady is not Mattie's father. Maureen is unsure how she can support Mattie without Grady's monthly payments, so Gray offers Mrs. Douglas her engagement ring in exchange for a lump sum payment to Maureen, but Mrs. Douglas refuses.
The group gathers at the dedication ceremony for the peace garden that Dennis has built to memorialize Grady. Mrs. Douglas gives Maureen a certified check and tells Gray to keep the ring, saying that all she wanted was her son back. Dennis moves out of the house, and Maureen and Mattie move in with Sam. Gray goes to Malibu and finds Fritz playing with his dog on the beach—they embrace and kiss.Jennifer Garner as Gray Wheeler
Timothy Olyphant as Fritz Messing
Kevin Smith as Sam
Sam Jaeger as Dennis
Juliette Lewis as Maureen Monette
Joshua Friesen as Mattie
Fiona Shaw as Ellen Douglas
Tina Lifford as Eve
Georgia Craig as Persephone
Catch and Release was filmed in the spring/summer of 2005, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with a reprise in December 2005. In July 2005, several scenes were filmed in Boulder, Colorado, where the story takes place.
Kevin Smith said while filming this movie, he and Lewis went to the set of the Uwe Boll film In the Name of the King because Smith had heard they had Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which were flown in by Burt Reynolds. They took boxes of doughnuts back to the Catch and Release set, and someone on set asked if they had stolen the doughnuts from the set of In the Name.., because Reynolds saw someone running away with them.
The original film score is produced by Brian Wayne Transeau (BT) and Tommy Stinson.
Songs used in the official trailer for the film included "Just a Ride" by Jem and "Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick.
Music featured in Catch and Release is performed by:
- Foo Fighters – "Razor"
- The Lemonheads – "My Drug Buddy"
- Blinker the Star – "A Nest for Two"
- The Magic Numbers – "Mornings Eleven"
- Gary Jules – "Pills"
- Steve Durand – "Electrified and Ripe"
- New Radiant Storm King – "The Winding Staircase"
- Audible – "Sky Signal"
- Peter Maclaggan – "Leaving the Ground"
- Joshua Radin – "What if You"
- Gomez – "These 3 Sins"
- Alaska! – "Resistance"
- Paul Westerberg – "Let the Bad Times Roll"
- The Swallows – "Turning Blue"
- Andrew Rodriguez – "What I Done"
- Death Cab for Cutie – "Soul Meets Body"
- Doves – "There Goes the Fear"
Box Office Mojo predicted Catch and Release would earn $4.6 million during its opening weekend from 1,622 sites, with Leesmovieinfo.com estimating $5 million. The film edged above these expectations and grossed $7,658,898 in its first three days — with Sony indicating that 75% of the audience was female (with 58% being over 25). The pattern of films that rely heavily on its leading ladies having a dominantly female audience can also be seen in pictures like In Her Shoes, Just Like Heaven and Because I Said So, other medium-sized box office successes.
The film ended up with a final gross of $15,539,051 in the United States and $456,458 overseas, making it a bomb at the box office.
Critical reaction towards the film has been largely negative. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 21% approval rating with an average rating of 4.5/10 based on 132 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "A romantic dramedy with boring, stock characters and contrived situations." Metacritic gave a score of 43 out of 100 based on 28 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The film did receive "Two Thumbs Up" from Richard Roeper and guest critic Govindini Murty on At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper. Even with most of the reviews being negative, a number of critics praised the performance given by Smith.