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`Bounce' is an utterly winning romantic drama, replete with an intriguing
storyline, believable characters and honest emotions.
Ben Affleck stars as Buddy Amaral, an arrogant hotshot advertising exec, who, in a rare moment of kindness, offers his seat on an airplane to a young writer desperate to get home to his wife and kids for the holidays. When the man dies in a plane crash, Buddy is suddenly sent on a mission of soul-searching, trying to sort out the complex emotions he is now forced to deal with. When drinking provides no solution, he feels himself compelled to seek out the man's widow, Abby, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and their two young boys. Buddy keeps his connection with them a secret as he begins to fall in love with Abby and to become a part of their wounded family.
In its bare-boned detailing, the plot may smack a bit of incredibility and contrivance. But thanks to expert writing and directing by Don Ross, every detail in the film feels just right. Take the opening scene, for instance. Ross gives the chance encounter between the two strangers who will be forever tied together by fate the loose, casual, and offhanded quality one finds in real life. Nothing in this film ever seems forced, least of all the romantic feelings these two hurt, vulnerable and attractive people feel for one another. In fact, it is the complexity of the characters that helps `Bounce' to rise above the superficiality of most films in this genre. In addition to Buddy's character-building, we see Abby trying desperately to overcome the bewildering tragedy that has befallen her, unsure of how to deal with her own feelings of loss, guilt and anger that inevitable arise from such a situation.
Affleck and Paltrow bring such an air of thoughtfulness and maturity to their roles that we find ourselves genuinely caught up in their predicament and rooting them on all the way. It's nice for a change to see a romantic film truly centered on a pair of likable grownups as opposed to the superannuated adolescents we usually find in films of this type. Here are flawed, often weak, individuals who nevertheless contain cores of genuine goodness and innate warmheartedness.
The movie also achieves additional depth and weight in its exploration of the vagaries of fate as many of the characters examine the `what if' scenarios that haunt anyone caught up in a situation like this one.
`Bounce' is well written, directed and acted. Even those who don't normally go for love stories should definitely check it out.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While at the airport bar waiting for their planes, ad exec Ben Affleck gives his ticket to a family man anxious to get home to his wife and kids; after the plane crashes, Affleck checks up on the man's widow, even helps get her work, before falling in love with her--and also before disclosing he has something to tell her, something important...but it can wait until tomorrow. As written and directed by Don Roos, "Bounce" follows such a formulaic pattern that everything in it is fraudulent. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the bereaved with a certain amount of sophisticated grace, but her character is always on the verge of making a hasty exit and her dialogue smacks of too-smart little observations thick with script-writer's ink. Affleck is always on the verge of finding a character--and failing (even when he has tears welling up in his eyes, nothing Affleck says or does quite rings true). The picture doesn't exist in any kind of reality--nothing in it appears natural--with decorative city and beach settings that may very well be stock shots. The character conflicts don't balance out for us emotionally, and when Paltrow kicks Affleck out of her house in front of her two kids, she's suddenly so embittered and vindictive that we can't recover from it in time for the finale. There's also the proverbial gal-pal for Paltrow and gay assistant for Affleck who both dish out that kind of 'it-hurts-but-it's-good-for-you' advice prone to romance weepies. It's an assembly-line chick flick for viewers who bounce unceremoniously from one of these movies to the next. ** from ****
"Bounce" has the familiar elements of a romance-drama. The premise is quite
original and engaging, but as the relationship between Ben and Gwyneth
blossoms, we're given the Hollywood treatment. However, Ben and Gwyneth
give spirited performances and keep everything afloat. Both of them are
extremely charming, have terrific charisma and there are some nice
interactions between the two of them. I wasn't touched after I finished
viewing this formulaic romance, since I pretty much saw what was coming--but
it's a likeable, feel-good movie thanks to the charming performances. It's
a good date movie, though I assume the woman will be shedding most of the
My score: 7 (out of 10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll admit Gwen Paltrow could make a hunting safety video interesting, but
there are many problems with Bounce that cannot simply be
Caution, spoilers ahead, drive carefully.
First of all, Affleck and Gwen have no chemistry on screen. Affleck has more chemistry with his 2 fingers of scotch. In fact, its nice to see stock footage of Ben exiting the rehab center worked into a major motion picture, but I digress. Charlie Sheen has been pitching that one around Hollywood for years without success.
Essentially, a formula story with a predictable ending and nothing you'll be too interested in. Affleck's character is not someone you root for. He's the take-no-prisoners-life-is-too-short-to-drink-cheap-vodka hot shot ad exec who "graciously" gives up his airplane ticket so he can bed some broad he has known for all of 5 minutes; how noble. He'd be better off with Sandy Bullock's character from 28 days, now there's a $500 Charles Nelson Riley match for you. Tell us what she's won Gene Rayburn...
Gwen is the life boat that prevents this sinking ship from going under mostly due to Ben's unlikable Buddy and a vapid script. Buddy shows up to "make amends" with Gwen and within 5 minutes starts making a play for her. What is that ? Is that a sub section of the ninth step in the AA codec: make amends with those you have made suffer, and if possible, try to get them into the sack ????
Consider it star training. Someday Ben will make the big blockbuster (Pearl Harbor notwithstanding) but it ain't this dog.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not a bad premise, especially for what is merely yet another romantic
drama that pairs up any major male star with any major female star.
However, once the basic premise "happens" (so-to-speak) the rest is
very predictable and formulaic, including the soppy and mediocre
ballads sung by current females-on-acoustic-guitar semi-poet
semi-90s-philosopher pop-singer morons.
It was obvious Affleck would: 1) get in touch with Paltrow, 2) fall for her and vice versa, 3) not tell her immediately le big secret, 4) she'd find out, one way or another, and tell him to go away, and 5) at the end they'd continue where they originally started. So the first half is totally by-the-numbers. There is even a gay character who offers counsel, support and all that other gay stuff which all 90s gay movie characters are required to do. (If they aren't (un)funny sidekicks, then they at least have to be WISE AND GOOD.) Still, at least they let Affleck make a sarcastic comment about the gay guy's role; a bit of unexpected but ultimately insufficient irony. Paltrow is annoying, Affleck is "blah" so nothing new there. He is a weak actor because he is Ben in every movie he plays. Sure, Clint Eastwood is Clint in every movie he plays, and the same goes for Bronson and some others, but with a big difference: those guys have charisma, i.e. we want to see Clint be Clint and so on but we don't ever want to see Ben be Ben because Ben isn't charismatic but simply a 90s Hollywood brat. (In fact, I don't want to see Ben Affleck AT ALL.)
The thing I mentioned earlier, about male-female-star pairing-ups is getting downright tiresome. There is a list of male and a list of female actresses who are paired up every now and then (read: far too often) for various romantic dramas or romantic comedies that are always based on clichéd scripts; movies that promise cash once the women and the girls in the audience start taking out those handkerchiefs out (usually towards the end of the movie) so that they can wet them with their tears of soap-operatic self-delusion.
The men: The women: George Clooney Michelle Pfeiffer Bruce Willis Salma Hayek Ben Affleck Jennifer Lopez Keanu Reeves Sandra Bullock Matthew MacConaughey Winona Ryder Richard Gere Gwyneth Paltrow Hugh Grant Meg Ryan Tom Hanks Julia Roberts Nicolas Cage Charlize Theron
Pair up any of these randomly, placing them in a movie about on-&-off love in which usually someone has a terminal illness or someone is from a different social class than the other, etc, and you can make your own 90s soap movie with very little entertainment or cinematic value. Try it. It's very, very easy. You might even get a feeling of deja-vu because some of these pairs already made films - with fascinating, brilliant results. Now you know how easy it can be to run a movie corporation.
If you want to read my parody-biographies of Affleck, Paltrow, and other Hollywood dimwits, contact me by e-mail.
BOUNCE (2000) ***1/2 Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joe Morton, Natasha
Henstridge, Jennifer Grey, Tony Goldwyn, Johnny Galecki, Caroline
Aaron, Alex D. Linz, David Dorfman. Excellent romantic drama tinged
with equal parts tragedy and comedy with Affleck (in one of his best
roles to date) as a charming alcoholic ad exec who sobers up after a
year of harboring a guilt-plagued secret: - giving his plane ticket to
family man Goldwyn en route home only to die in a plane crash killing
all aboard and seeking out the widow to make amends. What he doesn't
count on is falling in love with her and the circumstances hovering
their impending romance.
Paltrow has never been finer and succeeds in making her character not a victim but an individual coping with the harsh reality of raising her boys by herself and coming to terms with loving again. Written and directed by Don Roos (the script is smart, witty and poignant throughout with characters that feel all too real in what easily could've been manipulatively maudlin. Laugh and cry formula works and the on-again-off-again real-life relationship between the couple underscores all the emotions on full tilt.
Why, why, why did Jennifer Grey have to go and get a nose job? I hardly
recognized her in this movie. IMHO, she looked rather attractive just
the way she was.
OK, having got that off my chest, I am one of those who like Bounce, despite Affleck's limitations as an actor and the somewhat predictable plot. A bittersweet, tender romance movie is not really meant to move mountains artistically, nor should it be expected to. But this one does draw you in, emotionally, for better or for worse. Case in point: Look at all the IMDb comments posted on it! And as for those who would have liked more sizzle in the romance between Affleck and Paltrow, remember, this is a film that also has the death of Abby's husband as its constant backdrop, hence, the film's rather understated treatment of their romance, I think.
What makes BOUNCE rise above the average of romantic films is the direction
of Don Roos, who also made the eccentric THE OPPOSITE OF SEX. Here he avoids
sappiness but every now and then the film gets quite melodramatic.
However, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck are surprisingly good and have a
nice chemistry, in a good and warm date movie.
Old premise, new film. A reasonable attempt at film making, "Bounce" is fraught with problems not the least of which is casting Affleck opposite a fine actress. This light drama starts okay but fizzles. The chemistry between Affleck and Paltrow is predictably nonexistent. Affleck and Bullock, maybe. Affleck and Paltrow, no way. The drama in all corners of the film, from alcoholism to the Kodak moments to the "can I love the guy who killed my husband" paradox doesn't work because the film builds a weak foundation, develops characters poorly, and just plain unravels in the denouement. Wait for broadcast on this one.
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