By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sex, drinking, language in dated baseball romcom.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some cliched messages about following your dream and being true to yourself.
Positive Role Models
The baseball players go straight to the bar after games, talk about sex, and exchange fat-shaming jokes about a woman one of the players is dating.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent sexual innuendo. Lead character tries to sleep on the pitcher's mound for the night before the first practice, and is visited by his casual girlfriend, who puts a beer bottle between her legs and pours it on him to wake him up; she later straddles him, and the next scene shows the couple waking up next to each other in broad daylight. The lead character's girlfriend wakes up before he does, and takes all of his clothes, and leaves him with her thong underwear -- he wears that in the locker room, male buttocks exposed. The out-of-town players stay as guests in different houses, and one of the players stays with an older woman who has a reputation for sleeping with players, with some innuendo concerning grapes and a cucumber. Frequent sexual innuendo ("mow her lawn," etc.) from the catcher of the team. Since the movie is set in Cape Cod, there is a STD joke concerning "crabs." Players make fun of a teammate for sleeping with a plus-sized woman; he's shown in bed reading her a poem about her body before she gets into bed with him, dressed in lingerie. Lots of implied hooking up between players and local women. Passionate kissing.
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Profanity throughout, including "f--k." Also: "bulls--t," "s--t," "goddamn," "crap," "pissing," "wiseass."
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Products & Purchases
Product placement throughout. Sam Adams is the beer of choice in this movie -- bottles prominently displayed throughout. Also: Life cereal and Sprite make appearances.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking throughout. Characters get drunk in the local bar (beer and cocktails), drink at cocktail parties, drink beer at the ballpark in the middle of the night, binge drink beer at the beach. Lead character shown hungover. Lead character's dad shown drunk as he berates him for how he pitched during the game earlier that day. One of the characters smokes cigarettes; cigarette smoking in the bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Summer Catch is a 2001 romantic comedy in which Freddie Prinze, Jr. plays a young pitcher with one last chance to find success in baseball. There's quite a bit of sexual content in the form of innuendo, implied situations, and double entendre. The baseball players stay in the homes of locals; one is a woman known for sleeping with her guests -- with implications as to how she uses grapes and cucumbers in bed. It's implied that the lead character has sex with his girlfriend on the pitcher's mound the night before the first team practice; they wake up surrounded by empty beer bottles and the lead character's clothes are gone and he's forced to show up to practice wearing the only article of clothing that was still there -- a pair of thong panties. Brief nudity -- male buttocks. One of the players is dating a "plus-sized' woman, and his teammates make fun of him in a way that comes across as fat-shaming. This player, near the end of the movie, stands on a chair in the bar where they hang out and announces his love for "curvy, voluptuous" women, and receives applause from the patrons. There's also a fair amount of drinking -- characters are shown drinking in bars, at parties, at the beach, at ballgames. Lead character shown hungover in one scene. Cigarette smoking. Occasional profanity, including "f--k." Product placement, particularly of Sam Adams beer.
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What's the Story?
In SUMMER CATCH, Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is a young baseball pitcher who has been given the chance to pitch for his hometown team, the Chatham A's, in the Cape Cod Baseball League. As Dunne knows, as someone who has worked for his dad for years as a landscaper around town and mowed the stadium outfield, this is a prestigious baseball league, where pro scouts come to check out potential players for the big leagues. Dunne also knows that this is his last chance to make it in baseball, as his quick temper resulted in messing up his time at Boston College. While he's trying to focus exclusively on baseball, despite the distractions of his local slacker best friends, Dunne meets Tenley Parrish (Jessica Biel), an attractive young lady who lives on the rich side of town. Soon, a romance sparks between Dunne and Parrish, as Dunne begins to form friendships with his teammates, including the cocky catcher Billy Brubaker (Matthew Lillard). As Dunne struggles to stay consistent on the mound, Parrish's snobby father wants Tenley to break off what he sees as a summer fling with a local boy from a lower socioeconomic status. As their relationship frays, Dunne feels as if his baseball ambitions are beginning to slip away, but circumstance gives him one more opportunity to start a game and prove his worth to his team and the scouts who are watching. As he's pitching, Tenley is set to, somewhat reluctantly, begin a new life in San Francisco, and Ryan and Tenley must decide how they really feel about each other.
Is It Any Good?
This is a dated romcom that's also trying to be equal parts sex comedy and baseball movie. Of the three, Summer Catch works best as a baseball movie, as there's an authority in the writing that shows the screenwriters know what they're talking about, at least as it pertains to the baseball scene in and around the villages of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The sex comedy parts come across like something from the randy teen sex comedies of the early 1980s, and feel as forced as the romcom elements between working-class Prinze and blue-blood Biel. There's also a subplot involving one of the players and his relationship with a local "plus-sized" woman, with a whole slew of jokes, most often delivered by Matthew Lillard's catcher character, that are excruciating and fat-shaming, in spite of an attempt to salvage said fat-shaming near the end that doesn't really make it any better.
There was probably a decent coming-of-age story in this, but it instead morphed into a forced and awkward romcom, with plot points that feel shoehorned in to fit the logic of a cliched story of a rich girl/poor boy romance. And when that isn't happening, and when baseball isn't happening, we get Lillard's character, a few beers in at the bar, making an endless series of uninspired sexual entendres to Prinze's character like "mow her lawn." It's a movie from a different time, and if you've never heard of it, it might be because it was released less than a month before 9/11, and it's best to just leave it in 2001.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about romantic comedies like Summer Catch. How does this compare to other romantic comedies you've seen?
How does this compare to other baseball movies you've seen? Do you think it realistically conveys what it's like to play on a team in a league? Why or why not?
There are many moments of implied sex, talk about sex, and jokes about sex. Did this seem necessary to create a sense of realism to the characters, setting, and story, or did it seem gratuitous?
- In theaters: August 24, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: December 11, 2001
- Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard
- Director: Michael Tollin
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Sexual content, language and some drinking.
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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