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a number of critics have decided that it's open season on freddie prize jr . , slamming the young actor as an utterly talentless pretty boy on career cruise control in sound-alike , disposable teen fluff like " head over heels , " " boys and girls , " " down to you " and " she's all that . "
while the prinze oeuvre is hard to defend , his talent is not .
i first saw him in the independent dark comedy " the house of yes , " where he gave a subtle , impressive performance as the younger brother in one of america's freakiest families .
prinze has the acting chops ; he just needs to take a few supporting roles in some grown-up movies to show the non-believers that he has what it takes .
" summer catch " certainly won't help his case .
inoffensive , but utterly generic , the baseball-related romantic comedy does little more than kill time .
the story deals with the love affair between tenley ( jessica biel ) , a wealthy cape cod girl and ryan ( prinze ) , a local boy from a working class family who dreams of becoming a big-time baseball star .
ryan's preoccupation with his new honey-bunny drives her elitist father ( bruce davison ) crazy and endangers his position as pitcher with a cape cod summer league team .
it's a wonder the kid has any time to pitch , as his time is occupied with making out with tenley , fighting with her dad , bonding with his own dad ( fred ward , who deserves better than this ) , fighting with his brother ( jason gedrick ) and carousing at a neighborhood bar with his teammates .
the filmmakers desperately want to make a quirky , character-heavy baseball movie like " bull durham , " but haven't got a clue how to get there .
and so they glide from one clich ? to the next for 108 minutes .
the only bit of originality comes from marc blucas in a minor role as a center-fielder from texas .
in an early barroom scene , blucas , best known as demon-fighting riley finn from " buffy the vampire slayer , " hears a young woman compliment a guy on his ass , then turns to teammate matthew lillard and states , " he does have a nice ass .
a bubble butt . "
when lillard gives him an " are you insane ? "
look , blucas calmly says , " it's nothing sexual , " then goes on to evaluate the hind-ends of some other players , including lillard's .
speaking of asses , prinze does not bare his in the movie .
the actor has a no nudity clause in his contract , so two stunt-butts were employed for a couple of semi-nude shots .
blucas , whose character secretly dates a large woman throughout the story , gets another unique moment late in the film .
sick of hearing teammates make " fat chick " jokes , he climbs on top of a table and loudly declares his love of amply-sized ladies .
while his speech still ends up objectifying women , it remains a nice change of pace in a numbingly ordinary movie .
trivial tidbit : " summer catch " marks a scooby doo summit .
marc blucas appears in " jay and silent bob strike back " as fred from the scooby doo gang , while freddie prinze jr . plays the same character in the upcoming big budget film version of the old cartoon .