Two years ago, Don Roos released The Opposite of Sex, a biting, parasitic comedy so acerbic that it was a guilty pleasure. In a way, it is reassuring and disappointing to know that he can write and direct bland romantic dramas. It isn't the acting that makes Bounce odd, it is the circumstances surrounding the movie. There is the mini soap opera surround stars Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow and their are they or aren't they dating thing, and the spat surrounding Miramax and their copyrighting of the title, forcing another, slightly older film to change its name. Strangest of all is the premise of Bounce.
Buddy Amaral (Affleck, Dogma, Reindeer Games) is an ambitious advertising executive stuck in an airport. His plane is getting ready to take off, but he is chatting up Mimi (Natasha Henstridge, The Whole Nine Yards, Dog Park). When she hints that she wants something more, he switches tickets with a stranger. The plane crashes, throwing Buddy into a drunken stupor for a year. He sobers up, and decides to check on the man's wife, Abby Janello (Paltrow, Duets, The Talented Mr. Ripley). Buddy wants to apologize, but before he can, Abby claims to be a divorcee. Because of this, he cannot really do anything. They begin a relationship, but takes things slowly because they are both recovering from personal traumas. As they move closer, Buddy's guilt grows.
The main issue is credibility. Roos presents three aspects of Buddy's character; arrogant workaholic, drunk, and guilty man. His period as an alcoholic flies across the screen, so it is hard to believe his transformation. In the opening minutes of the film, he is essentially a jerk. Is he actually a changed man, or is he just acting this way for Abby's benefit? The entire situation just seems wrong, especially in light of his growing attention to AA rules and meetings. Roos' script also takes time (wisely) to focus on Abby, a much more sympathetic character. She is reluctantly accepting the death of her husband, and trying in her own way to emerge into the world again. It was easy for her to disappear into her kids, now she must come out from hiding. Abby is the person who initiates most of the relationship, and Buddy (thankfully) is extremely hesitant at first.
Affleck and Paltrow do nice jobs in their roles, although both are capable of much more. These roles in the hands of less capable actors would make Bounce much worse. Affleck's everyman persona does help audiences keep their mind off of Roos' mistreatment of the Buddy character. Aside from the character issue, Roos' script shows that he can develop a story, however strange the premise. It was an interesting thing to try, but next time he should try to stick less to such a formulaic plot. He also seems to have a penchant for including soundbyte-like lines that sound great in movie trailers then lame in the movie (things along the lines of "I'm widow with two kids happy" and "I don't have a last call"). By the end of the movie, Bounce becomes mushy and predictable. Now that he established that he is can do other things, Roos should go back to something he can do better.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 42 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some language and sensuality.|
Back to Movies