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Catch Me If You Can /

Rated: PG-13
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Garner, Martin Sheen, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Walter F. Parkes
Written by: Jeff Nathanson

Distributor: Dreamworks Pictures


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Movie Image
Movie Image

     Catch Me If You Can is well-made entertainment. While films like Big Momma’s House, Shallow Hal, and Legally Blonde are fun in the purest of forms, this film is cooked to perfection. Steven Spielberg’s magnificent direction brings the little bits of comedy to life, and we are fully engaged in the story. Most comedies center on their scripts, and ignore all other area’s of the board, but there us creativity in every aspect of Catch Me If You Can. Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio entertain us with excellent performances, utilizing witty charm. Most of the material in Catch Me If You Can is corny, but we are able to ignore this because of its likable cockiness. It is a very long film, considering the genre, with a duration of 2 hours and 20 minutes. But, the wonderful story makes these 140 minutes seem like one.

     Catch Me If You Can is, as the tagline reads, “the true story of a real fake.” It captivates us with the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio). Abagnale Jr. was a teenager who ran away from home when his parents divorced. Before the separation, he was a master at conning people into things. He was able to make an entire French class believe that he was their substitute teacher, really a new student, and wasn’t caught for an entire week. His dad was always amused by his son’s little jokes, which were similar to his own, but his mother was angered by them. But, he left his parents behind after they parted ways. What was he supposed to do? What would make him the money that he needed to survive on the run? He only had one skill, and that was making people believe things that weren’t true. The only thing he could think of, and decided to do, was forging checks.

     Abagnale was smart, and he knew couldn’t keep his name under this new life in crime, or he would be caught. He decided keep it, though (why he chose to do this is discussed in the later parts of the movie that I won’t give away.) So, his only option was to go by other titles, but not legally change his own. He personally altered his own last name, every so often, and faked different professions. With no knowledge, except for what he had seen on television programs; Abagnale co-piloted a plane, examined a little boy’s fractured fibula, and pretended as if he were a lawyer for an entire pre-trial hearing. While all of these mind-blowing and nutty cons were believed by Abagnale’s audiences, the FBI was hot on his trail. Young Frank had forged over four-million dollar’s worth in checks; and a team, led by Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), was prepared to stop him.

     The swift Abagnale led Hanratty into unthinkable traps, and was one of the most intellectually profound teenagers to live in the 60’s. The two’s cat-and-mouse chase is cleverly lit up on film by Spielberg’s amazing direction, and in it, DiCaprio and Hanks are great together. The lighting has a wonderful effect, and makes us feel like we are really living in the sixties. This is a screenplay, similar to Bad Company’s, in the way that it drags on forever. With a mediocre director, like Joel Schumacher (Bad Company), the entire film could’ve gone desperately wrong. Spielberg, however, is one of the greatest filmmakers presently living. He practically sleepwalks through his tough role, and still accomplishes a whole lot. When a movie, even as silly as this one, has such an all-star cast and crew; nothing can go wrong. I’d love to see a Spielberg directed Dude Where’s My Car?, someday; just for the fun of it.

      Catch Me If You Can is good fun. The fabulous cast and crew light up the comical premise to make it a winner. There is evident joy in the direction and production, which helps brighten the story (that could’ve been done in a more serious way). Every scene in the film has color, and is surprisingly authentic. Hanks and DiCaprio give excellent performances, and are very believable. There is something we are able to smile at in every second of film of Catch Me If You Can. I love it when you can just sit down and enjoy a nice comedy, that’s doesn’t exceed its laughs. Catch Me If You Can is one of these, and audiences will indeed, be pleased.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews