by Jason Whyte
Don Roos' "Bounce" is a surprisingly witty, romantic and funny movie that makes us feel right at home with it's honest and noteworthy characters, right down to Gwenyth Paltrow, who has almost never been better, and Ben Affleck, who shows he is coming along as a fine leading actor. Both of them, who have since parted from an infamous relationship, make for an interesting romantic couple admist all the chaos, and it's the dialogue, the art of "talking" that propels the story.Of which it is an interesting one. Here we have Buddy (Affleck), a wealthy advertising executive who is stranded at an airport to delays. He starts chatting it up with a Dallas businesswoman (Natasha Henstridge) and meets a fellow LA businessman (Tony Goldwyn), who charms Buddy so much, he gives him his boarding pass to a sold-out flight to LA and stays on a layover and has a one-night with the woman from Dallas.
"For nicotine-gum addicts only!"
The plane crashes, and Buddy is riddled with guilt, and drunken stupor, so much so that when he makes a fool of himself after winning an award for the advertising of the plane crash, Buddy is placed in a treatment center. A year passes, and when he emerges, Buddy wants to make amends with the wife of the man he gave the ticket to.
It turns out to be Abby (Gwenyth Paltrow), now a single mother living with her sister (Caroline Aaron) and working in real estate. Buddy happens upon Abby in the oddest ways, by falsifying his intentions and stating he wants her to get on a real estate buy his company was going to want anyway and get her the commission. Buddy and Abby respectively fall for each other in honest ways, it isn't just one falls for another that doesn't share it, this is mutual.
What I liked about the movie is the way these two handle each other. In one of the film's best scenes that I am sure viewers of the film will remember, Abby talks about her smoking as a way to crack her addiction to Nicotine gum. Buddy has the best line: "In a week, you'll be on heroin." Another involves Dodger Game tickets and how Abby asks, is so honest and believable as to how a nervous person would ask another out (trust me, I've been there). Their love becomes stronger as the inevitable climax nears, where Buddy's secret will be revealed.
If this movie is sounding light and fluffy with laughs, it isn't. Director and writer Don Roos comes from "The Opposite of Sex," a brilliant comedy about an angry young girl who betters herself with a baby yet proceeds to destroy everyone along the way. Roos has really turned down his dark attitude on this movie, but there's darkness here, too, and it works with great levels of insight.
One could argue that because of Paltrow and Affleck's past relationship that they are just playing themselves. Which is not true. Both are talented actors playing Abby and Buddy, two real and honest characters that are written nicely. As well, Alex D. Linz ("Home Alone 3", "One Fine Day," voice work in "Titan A.E.") as Abby's older son, Caroline Aaron (Many Woody Allen films like "Deconstrucing Harry" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors"), Natasha Henstridge ("Dog Park," "The Whole Nine Yards") and Tony Goldywn (Voice work in "Tarzan") all give strong support.The only minor flaws noticable in "Bounce" would be the fact we've seen this plot done many times on both film and television, and there are some problems later on in the film regarding the revelation of the secret and other tidbits. Still, Don Roos does this style of film better than the rest. Under a different director this film would have been right down in the worst films of the year. Roos' writing is honest and real, and therein lies its power.
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originally posted: 06/13/04 00:02:49