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The Rebound (2009)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/7/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/12/2012
The beginning of the calendar year used to the be time when movie studios would dump unwanted films into theaters, with the hope that as everyone had already seen the big holiday movies, they'd be desperate for something new. That practice has abated somewhat in recent years, as we've seen some fairly high profile releases arrive in January. Apparently, the studios have now turned to clearing out their shelves to home video in the early months of the new year. Already this season we've seenFireflies in the Garden and The Whistleblower. And now, we get another entry into our "I've heard of these people, why haven't I heard of this movie?" series, The Rebound.
The Rebound introduces us to two characters who come from completely different worlds. Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a stay-at-home mom who lives in the suburbs. When she discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she takes her two children, Frank (Andrew Cherry) and Sadie (Kellly Gould) and moves to Manhattan, where she finds an apartment over a coffee shop. Sandy is obsessed with sports and she's able to get a job compiling stats for the Sports News Network. Aram (Justin Bartha) is a 24-year old college graduate who has yet to find his way in life. Despite some job prospects, he works in the coffee shop below Sandy's apartment. One day, Sandy asks Aram if he can babysit, and he soon hits it off with the kids and Sandy. As they get to know each other better, an attraction grows between Aram and Sandy, despite their age difference. Soon, he feels like part of their family. But, can these two people who are on different life-paths actually have a relationship?
The Rebound is one of those odd movies which was made in the United States by a U.S. filmmaker which then proceeded to open everywhere in the world other than America. The movie was shot in 2008 and as early as September, 2009, it was playing in Mexico, Israel, and Indonesia. It was shown on TV in Italy in 2010. But, I can't find any evidence of it having played in a theater in America. In fact, it suddenly showed up on the home video release calendar without warning. So, a movie which someone seemed determined to keep out of its native homeland must be awful, right? The easy answer to that question is no, I've seen much worse. But, The Rebound certainly has its share of problems and it's not difficult to speculate as to why it sat on the shelf here.
On the positive side, the cast is very good. I've never been a big fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones, as she always seems to play the same cocky and brash woman over and over again. But here, she's very vulnerable and down-to-Earth, which makes her character much more likable. (Of course, her hair is always perfect, but we'll let that slide.) Conversely, Justin Bartha has been very likable in things likeNational Treasure and The Hangover, and he plays a similar character here. But, this is the first time that I've seen him in a romance and he handles the dramatic stuff just fine. These two get help from a supporting cast which includes Joanna Gleason, Art Garfunkel (Yes, Art Garfunkel), and Lynn Whitfield. Kelly Gould and Andrew Cherry do an especially fine job of playing kids who are energetic, but not annoying.
It's the story which presents problems here. The Rebound comes from Writer/Director Bart Freundlich, who also made the underrated Trust the Man. As with that film, The Rebound deals with infidelity. Hmm... (He's also directed eight episodes ofCalifornication, so...wow...someone is drawn to cheatin' stories.) Anyway, the first two acts of The Rebound are pretty good, as we get to know Sandy and Aram and watch them come together. Obviously, the point of the film is their age difference (which is incredibly ironic, as Zeta-Jones is involved in one of the world's most famous older man/younger woman relationships), but the casual nature of both characters (and, again, the acting) make it feel very natural. I don't think that many viewers will have any issue with these two getting together, especially after Aram bonds with the kids. It's the third act which ruins the movie. Freundlich attempts to make things more realistic and bring the story back down to Earth, which isnít necessarily a bad idea, but things then spin out of control. I donít want to give too much away here, but his attempts to make things seem more mature and genuine actually leads to some pretty unbelievable things and smacks of yet another situation where filmmakers donít understand how money works in the real world. The final scene really feels disingenuous and false. Itís supposed to put a nice capper on the movie, but it leave us scratching our heads over the coincidence and pointlessness of it all.
Often when I watch these shelved films, itís obvious why they were hidden away from the world, but The Rebound a bit of an oddity. I can easily see test audiences not approving of the ending, but it could have been easily fixed. Movies like this are often cut to shreds to try and fix the problems, so why not this one. As it is, Iíve seen much worse movies, but the fact that this one falls apart at the end, makes it disappointing.
The Rebound offers one of the most uncomfortable sex questions from a child ever on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 23 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture has a nice crispness to it, which lends the image a nice amount of detail and depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue ands sound effects. The track offers some stereo and surround effects during the New York City street scenes, but otherwise, the bulk of the audio comes from the center channel. The musical score sounds fine, most notably during the finale montage.
The lone extra found on The Rebound Blu-ray Disc is "Cast & Crew Interviews" which runs about 25 minutes. Here, we hear from Catherine Zeta-Jones, Writer/Director Bart Freundlich, Art Garfunkel, Justin Bartha, Joanna Gleason, and Kelly Gould & Andrew Cherry. The speakers talk about how they got involved in the project, their characters, and what they liked about the script.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long