"Catch Me If You Can"
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Written by Jeff Nathanson, based on the book by Frank Abagnale,
Jr. and Stan Redding.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 1/16/03
Should the best part of any movie experience
be the trailers? Tonight, before the new Steven Spielberg film
“Catch Me If You Can”, there was a hilarious trailer for the next
Will Ferrell movie called
“Old School.” Holy shit, was this funny!
With Vince Vaughn in the mix, this one should at least be able to
net a $9.50 Show.
“Catch Me If You Can”, while it is a fun
ride, never approached $9.50 Show status for me. The mostly-true
story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and the
FBI agent that spent four years pursuing him, the film is a
long-winded account of Abagnale’s con work all over the country as
he wrote over $4 million in counterfeit checks over a four-year
period while posing as an airline pilot, lawyer and doctor...all
before he hit 21 years old. “Catch Me If You Can” follows Abagnale,
Jr. from his home life in New Rochelle--where he was raised by his
mother and father (Christopher Walken)--to Manhattan to Atlanta to
California to Miami to Louisiana to France as he spends time
pocketing cash, bedding the ladies and running from the feds.
The film is just slow at times; at 140
minutes, a crime caper like this should have been at least 30
minutes shorter. This is especially true in the case of “Catch Me
If You Can”, since Spielberg wraps the end onto the beginning of the
film, essentially ending the suspense of it all in the first five
minutes. Also, this movie just didn’t seem to know if it wanted to
be a lighthearted comedy at times--making the FBI look like a bunch
of fools--or be more serious fare. It reminded me of some of the
problems with “Auto-Focus”, the Greg Kinnear movie from last year:
at times a 60’s sex romp comedy, it turned violent on occasion and
painted a picture of the lead character as something darker than he
really might be. You never get dark in “Catch Me If You Can”, but
in scenes where Abagnale is dealing with the thoughts of his broken
family life, I was just waiting to get back to watching Leo woo more
stewardesses or write more fake checks.
This is because watching DiCaprio work in
this film is the only great reason to go and see it. Clearly, he is
the perfect actor to play this role--he looks 17 in *real life*, so
playing that in a movie was no problem for him. It is easy to buy
that women would fawn all over him, and in all of the scenes where
he makes eye contact with women, I was laughing my ass off.
Spielberg’s regular cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, does a great
job with the shots in this film and it is a beautiful looking piece
of work, especially in all of these scenes with DiCaprio. The
visuals of “Catch Me If You Can” make for a fantastic theater
experience. Hanks is great in support here and--like many of you, I
hope--I continue thinking that the guy will do more comedy now that
he has won a couple of Oscars. Shit, I still think my favorite
Hanks performance might be in “Dragnet” (with Dan Aykroyd)...with
“The Money Pit”, “A League of Their Own” and “Big”, his roots are in
comedy and he should get back to doing what he does best. All of
the supporting turns are good, including a pretty funny cameo with
Jennifer Garner (“Alias”) and Martin Sheen.
Hey, the perfect Matinee. You walk in, you
get reasonably entertained for $7 (yep, that’s what they cost here
in San Francisco!), and two hours later, you forget you ever even
saw the thing. I can almost guarantee that you will say the words
“That was a fun little movie” when you’re all finished.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard