Buddy (Affleck) has just signed an airline in Chicago as a big client, but is ironically delayed at the airport waiting for a flight to LA on that same airline. He meets fellow passenger Greg, who opts to be bumped, even though it means missing an activity with his older son. When the flight gets resumed, Buddy thinks he's doing a good deed by swapping tickets with Greg so he can get home to his son. Sadly, the flight crashes. Buddy conspires with his friend, the ticket agent that night, to take his name off the passenger list and put Greg's on. Once he's back in LA, his new client dictates that the company run a series of feel-good ads about the crash. Buddy feels very hypocritical, and completely loses it when the commercials win a Cleo. After going through re-hab, he decides he needs to check on Greg's widow. But he doesn't plan on falling in love with her. Written by
A tragic brush with fate sets a man on a road to self awareness and discovery that drastically alters his perception of himself and the world in which he lives, in `Bounce,' directed by Don Roos and starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. In Chicago on business, waiting at the airport for a flight back to L.A. just before Christmas, Advertising Exec/salesman Buddy Amaral (Affleck) gives his ticket to a man he's met that evening in the lounge, Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn), who's just been bumped from his flight. A writer, in Chicago for the opening (and sadly, the closing) of one of his plays, Janello has a wife, Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), and two kids waiting for him at home, and is grateful for Buddy's apparent random act of kindness. Far from being a benevolent gesture, however, Buddy's motives are purely self-serving, and have to do with another passenger, Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), who's also been bumped and who has been given accommodations for the night by the airline. It seems that everything has worked out well for all concerned, until later that night, when the news breaks that the plane carrying Janello has crashed somewhere in Kansas, and that there are no survivors. For Buddy, who should have been on that plane, it's an awakening; and for probably the first time in his life he is forced to look inward. And he doesn't like what he finds. His confrontation with the demons within ultimately leads him to Abby Janello, and another unexpected turn in his life. Director Roos has created a richly textured drama that is both captivating and credible; the story is well written (by Roos), developed with precision and expertly paced, which makes it all entirely believable. Much more than a simple love story, it's about a man forced to confront what he sees in the mirror, and how he must cope with what he finds there; and about a young woman with two children, suddenly widowed, who must come to grips with an unsure future while dealing with such a devastating loss. What follows is an examination of a relationship forged by fate and born of need; a fragile, precarious situation at best. And what makes this film so good is the gradual way the relationship between Buddy and Abby is formed, neither hurried nor forced, with a couple of truly poignant moments along the way. And it all rings true, courtesy of a great script, Roos directing and the engaging performances of the stars. Affleck brings real depth to his character, and most importantly, a sense of true sincerity that makes him real; he illuminates Buddy's imperfections to perfection. And Paltrow is absolutely disarming as Abby; gentle and vulnerable to a fault, winsomely charming, and beautifully played. Also, there is a definite chemistry between Paltrow and Affleck that cannot be denied. The supporting cast includes Jennifer Grey (Mrs. Guererro), Joe Morton (Jim), David Paymer (Prosecution Lawyer), Alex D. Linz (Scott) and Johnny Galecki. A touching, memorable movie, `Bounce' is a reflection on the journey of life we all must take; and it makes you realize that it's something you have to work at. It's a film that makes you stop to reconsider choices made in the past, while recognizing that in the end, perhaps love and happiness is the bonus for doing it right. I rate this one 9/10.
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