Garden State provided the template for modern indie romantic comedies -- not just as a film, but for their soundtracks, as the indie rock-heavy album accompanying the Zach Braff film arguably turned into a bigger hit than the movie itself. The producers of the Jennifer Garner- and Timothy Olyphant-starring Catch and Release noticed this phenomenon and decided to follow its blueprint for their own film. If Garden State suggested that indie rock could change your life, in the case of Catch and Release it's simply a device to save the soundtrack, to help give the impression that the film is a bit hipper than it actually is. So, this set is designed to capture the target audience for the movie: Gen-X thirtysomethings who listened to the Lemonheads, the Replacements, and Dave Grohl (albeit as the drummer of Nirvana, not as the leader of the Foo Fighters) while in college and now are settling down into a smooth adult alternative life -- tasteful and tempered but never tacky, blessed with things and music that suggest that you're just a bit better than the mainstream. As such, Catch and Release is overloaded with sensitive singer/songwriters who are pleasant enough but rarely write songs as memorable as Daniel Powter -- it's all likable, vaguely melodic without ever really being catchy pop, often delving into folky (but not folk) pop, and sung by wispy, earnest guys (with the exception of the old guys Evan Dando, Paul Westerberg, and Grohl, who are easily the most forceful, distinctive singers here). All this blends together, but that's the point: this is designed not just as a soundtrack to the movie, but a soundtrack to life, something that can be played in the background, and on that level it's a success, since it delivers lifestyle music for the characters in the film and for the movie's audience.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine