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REBOUND, THE

SYNOPSIS:
After she discovers her husband cheating on her, 40 year old Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) packs up her two kids and moves to New York City to start a new life. There, she meets Aram Finkelstein (Justin Bartha), a 25 year old college graduate who's just found out his French wife of two weeks duped him into marrying him for a green card. Aram works two jobs in a Women's Centre and as a Barista in the coffee shop below the apartment Sandy's renting. When Sandy gets a job at a New York sports network, she asks Aram to babysit and a makeshift family forms. Against the odds, they fall in love - but there is much resistance to their new relationship from friends and family alike.

Review by Louise Keller:
She's a divorced mother who's as mad as hell at her philandering ex; he's a sensitive, sweet-natured university graduate working in a New York coffee shop who becomes her nanny. Neither is in their comfort zone when they meet, but in this formulaic and predictable romantic comedy, the more discomfort the better, offering optimum opportunities for comedic possibilities, albeit contrived. After all, that's what the target market for Bart Freundlich's likeable film expects - and gets. The script is essentially sit-com material, elasticised for the undemanding looking for an escapist trip far from reality.

We know him as the groom-to-be from The Hangover, but here, as Aram Finklestein, Justin Bartha is given more opportunity to shine as the sociology major graduate happy to follow his heart and not the ambitions attributed by his upper west side parents. Catherine Zeta-Jones has a sexy and appealing presence as Sandy, and although the chemistry between the two does not really ignite, they have a nice vibe, which means we enjoy the ups and downs of the relationship as it goes from coasting to roller-coasting. It's a welcome surprise to see 60s pop legend Art Garfunkel in a rare movie role as Aram's father Harry, who is eager to share the news of his upcoming surgery and new body part. Joanna Gleason is effective as Aram's well-meaning mother who cannot help but be judgmental. The two kids are good too.

Most of the comedy set ups are contrived, like the scene in which Aram dons a fat suit for the scene at the Women's Centre and becomes a punching bag for Sandy's bottled up angst in the class for 'self preservation in the city of predators'. To be expected is the embarrassment of discovery when the kids find their nanny making out with their mother, followed by the verbose faux pas made by friends, colleagues and family. Like a cold soufflé, the film dips in the middle, but gets a head of steam towards the end as we visit Paris in all her beauty and the characters grow, change and work out their destinies. This glossy Hollywood piece is not for everyone as it joins the dots and goes for the obvious, but it's good natured enough and allows those who are interested to partake in a fantasy of plastic proportions.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
From the cheesy poster where Catherine Zeta-Jones sits beside Justin Bartha, hand on knee, and from Bartha's teeth dangle a pair of pink knickers, to the insufferable support characters, The Rebound is singularly trite and unengaging. Apart from Bartha and occasionally Zeta-Jones, nothing much is real, not even Art Garfunkel's quietly disapproving grandpa. With the most boring bits edited out, it might make a commercial hour (48 minutes) TV sitcom. It's laboured and clunky, or crude and vulgar, when it should be funny and zippy.

The plot is simple enough: 40 year old Sandy leaves unfaithful hubby and sets up in a Manhattan apartment. Downstairs in the café, 25 year old Aram goes from part time baby sitter to lover. Then what? The possibilities of the romantic comedy are hardly explored and the genuine, comedic examination of the situation ignored.

The proposition is rather simplistic, that he's so caring and sensitive, she's so lost and confused ... and that their friends and family are aghast. Not least Sandy's best friend, the awful Daphne (Kate Jennings Grant) who offers bitchy remarks under the guise of friendly advice. Naturally Sandy's ex is despicable, and why she didn't realise this much earlier - like two children earlier - is a mystery. We can see it in a nanosecond.

These plastic versions of reality help audiences disconnect from the movie and get them to keep glancing at their watches. Just when you think it's time for a change of gear, it comes along in the time-honoured time-passing device of an extended montage showing Aram travelling the world on a five year, squillion dollar adventure so he can mature. He's seen in all the capitals, in all the deserts, in all the colourful communities .... until it looks like a credit card commercial.

The trouble is that Aram is a nice guy... but he's nothing else. It's a two dimensional character, as is Sandy. Good for a photo album but not a movie.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1


REBOUND, THE (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha, Kelly Gould, Andrew Cherry, Lynn Whitfield, Kate Jennings Grant, Art Garfunkel, Sam Robards, Joanna Gleeson

PRODUCER: Bart Freundlich, Tim Perell, Mark Gill, Robert Katz

DIRECTOR: Bart Freundlich

SCRIPT: Bart Freundlich

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jonathan Freeman

MUSIC: Clint Mansell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ford Wheeler

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 18, 2010







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