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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.58%
Worth A Look35.21%
Average: 12.68%
Pretty Bad: 5.63%
Total Crap: 16.9%

5 reviews, 41 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"How Guilty Would You Feel?"
4 stars

Guilt is a funny thing. We send people on the proverbial guilt trip, while we have our own bags packed by others. To feel a sense of guilt, one must believe that they have done something wrong. If one does not, then perhaps nothing was wrong with their actions in the first place. Either that, or the person in question is so cold-hearted that they don’t allow themselves to be bothered by the feelings of others. Buddy Amaral is about to come face-to-face with that prospect when he inadvertently sends a man to his death and robs a family of their father.

Buddy (Ben Affleck) is one of those hotshot advertising execs you see in movies and walking the streets of the big cities. One night, snowbound in Chicago, he strikes up a conversation with some strangers in the airport bar. One is the sexy Mimi Praeger (Natasha Henstridge), a businesswoman from Dallas, and the other, Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn), a struggling writer. With the possibility of sex in the air, Buddy gives Greg his ticket for an earlier flight to Los Angeles. That way, Greg can get home on time to sell Christmas trees with his son and Buddy can stay in the Windy City and get some. But Greg never gets home as the flight Buddy was supposed to be on crashes.

In the year that follows, Buddy has descended slowly into drinking and then out again. As George Costanza constantly reminded us in an episode of Seinfeld, step nine of Alcoholics Anonymous is to make amends. That leads Buddy to seek out Greg’s wife, Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has suffered her own struggle in keeping her family together after the tragedy. But how does a total stranger walk up to a woman and tell her that he’s partly responsible for her widow status?

Buddy’s hesitance in dropping that bomb leads him into a getting-to-know-you status while continuing to carry around this baggage that he forgot to check at the door. Increasingly he finds himself drawn to Abby, yet he continues distancing their growing relationship, partly because he knows the truth is eventually going to hurt. But Abby’s beauty and strength keep bringing him back and the romance grows.

Bounce was written and directed by Don Roos, whose film, The Opposite of Sex (1998), is one of the overlooked gems of the 90s. Here he’s dealing with subject matter that easily could slip into cheap sappy melodrama, but Roos keeps it pretty tight by avoiding unnecessary subplots and phony plot devices (at least until the final half of the third act). Bounce is instead aided by two very strong performances from Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow and filled with a number of really well written scenes by Roos.

Buddy’s lunchtime acclamation to Abby as a way to brush her off is filled with a realistic subtlety that you don’t often see on screen. When Buddy is nearly caught falling off the wagon, his new assistant (Johnny Galecki) calls him on the carpet with one of the best lines about the blame of alcoholism I’ve ever heard. Even Roo’s dark sense of satire comes through when Buddy’s company is so proud to win an award based on their campaign for the mourners of that fateful flight. Not to mention how Jennifer Grey’s airline attendant shares the same last name of Van Heflin’s bomber passenger in Airport.

Bounce is a film that uses characters and their feelings to confront the issues it raises. Unfortunately it has the added stigma of being another of those “relationships based on a lie” premises that so often fuel empty-headed comedies with sitcom aspirations. So as we begin to feel for the characters as they do, lurching in the back is that scene when Abby is going to find out the truth and we can only pray that a third party doesn’t steal Buddy’s thunder. Roos has some good dialogue in the material surrounding these moments, but resorts to a cliched subplot (set in yet another courtroom) that is conveniently broadcast on Court TV. Only here does Roos step falsely as we wish Buddy had the dialogue he has in the witness box face-to-face with Abby.

The real-life relationship between Affleck and Paltrow only contributes to the sincerity of their quiet moments as Buddy and Abby. We aren’t interested in the kind of tabloid-like sexual chemistry here that films like The Getaway (Baldwin/Basinger) and Eyes Wide Shut (Cruise/Kidman) promote, but rather a sense of the gentleness and true love that they felt and probably still feel for each other. Ben Affleck does his best work since Chasing Amy and Gwyneth is so naturally gifted as an actress that every look rings with believability. Roos’ dialogue is also a key factor, ranking a cut above your standard romantic melodrama. There’s nothing guilty about liking this film. Bounce is a true pleasure.

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originally posted: 11/17/00 16:32:29
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell solid imho 4 stars
12/18/07 Boris I never was in a situation like that. but imagine this is not how one would act or feel 1 stars
8/27/05 ES Not woth the bother, cookie cutter plot and ending 2 stars
3/21/04 Cupid I was in tears. it was so emotional 5 stars
10/13/03 Sehgha Hejvunpam Gwyneth Foultrow's worst movie. She's yucky-schmucky in this. Avoid. 1 stars
4/22/03 Pam be Dextrous Best line: What is a dooryard? But that does not a movie make. 2 stars
4/10/03 Joesco Watched it for Natasha who needn't have turned up but a good film with Ben & Gwyn excellent 4 stars
1/05/03 Sully Affleck is the WORST actor this side of Danny Bonnaduchi. HE SUCKS DOG ASS!!!!! 1 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Gwyneth shoulda won the Oscar for this NOT Shakespeare In Love. 5 stars
10/23/02 Phil M. Aficionado I agree 100% with Erik the Movieman; it is a fine film, albeit a bit trite 4 stars
4/23/02 KMG Watching "Gwennie" and the Benster on film was nauseating 2 stars
3/31/02 Kakararniniginjia Sinitraviwasanjofraz Like making pivot in the ball when the collector sends it again to the jar 2 stars
1/28/02 Andrew Carden I Would Have Liked To See More Jennifer Grey, She Was Interesting. 3 stars
1/21/02 Soggy Bottom Boy Good acting, but a lot of the film felt contrived. First half was good, but went downhill. 4 stars
7/22/01 J I'm suprisingly with Erik & Nuwanda on this one. (Though I wasn't too far to go with Greg) 4 stars
6/26/01 Tzila Seewald Perfect movie! 5 stars
4/21/01 Monday Morning Movie is cliche-city but I'm loving GP more and more each film she's in. 3 stars
2/12/01 ASHLEY LOEL she is a nasty BIT** 1 stars
12/25/00 Wada Loved it. 5 stars
12/20/00 AlGore I hate Ben Affleck and his movies. Good thing he's dating Billy Bob daughter and not mine! 1 stars
12/11/00 natasha Honest, with a good heart. I can't wait to see Don Roos' and Ben Affleck's next movies. 5 stars
12/10/00 BrittenysPears Affleck is the most overrated actor and "writer" of our time. lame as hell movie save your$ 1 stars
12/05/00 Affleckted Loved it. Ben was great. Love their chemistry. I'd see it again and again. 5 stars
12/05/00 Heidi This movie was slow but awesome 5 stars
12/05/00 Robin Elizabeth Loved it! Ben, When are we going to meet? 5 stars
12/03/00 jeff michael Boring......................slept thru it... 1 stars
12/03/00 AffleckFan Predictable. I was expecting another "Opposite of Sex". 3 stars
12/02/00 miyax What a waste of $8.75...I've never seen anything so predictable... 1 stars
12/02/00 Angela Murtagh A great flick...entertaining... 5 stars
12/02/00 TJMax Long live Ben and Gwen, whose talent is given maximum coverage here. Wonderful 5 stars
12/01/00 Gilberto Mello The Reallity About Phantom Business in Brazil 5 stars
11/27/00 Fred Excellent movie. Enjoyed by both Gwyneth's and Ben's performances and their 'chemistry'. 5 stars
11/24/00 KoHawk If you see this for a reason other than your woman dragged you there, you should be ashamed 1 stars
11/21/00 Kirsten Ben looks and acts better than ever. 4 stars
11/21/00 chuckmfh good way to spend a couple of hours 5 stars
11/20/00 Nick The story line never catches up -kinda like Al Gore. This Movie is a real loser. 1 stars
11/20/00 chris Best movie of the year! 5 stars
11/19/00 mesawyou It's entertaining 4 stars
11/19/00 Mike This movie had NO SUBSTANCE. Ben &Gwen need to give the world a rest 1 stars
11/12/00 Carol I loved this movie! Ben Affleck is so hot! 5 stars
11/05/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Dear God, when will Paltrow quit movies and give the world a rest? 1 stars
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  17-Nov-2000 (R)


  08-Mar-2001 (M)

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