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BOUNCE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tony Goldwyn, Natasha Henstridge, Joe Morton
Director: Don Roos
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Miramax
Features: See Review
Length: 106 Minutes
Release Date: April 10, 2001

Film ***

Romance films are all the more passionate when the actors convince you with their emotions, and what better way to do that than have a previous real life movie couple paired up in a romantic drama that brews with strong emotion. The movie in this case is Bounce and the stars are Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s quite refreshing to see that the two, who shared a brief high profile relationship following the production of Shakespeare In Love, reunite for such a movie. There are certain points where you can sense that the emotions displayed by the actors is very real and very true, given that the story is a mixture of beautiful love and buried tragedy.

The plot of Bounce is kind of similar to the very awful Random Hearts, but is a lot more satisfying and truly not as meandering as that film was. Affleck plays Buddy Amaral, a cocky advertising agent who’s also a wiz at being a swinger. At an airport waiting for his evening flight to L.A., Buddy has a few drinks in the lounge as he engages in a talk with Greg (Tony Goldwyn), who’s just refunded his tickets due to his flight being delayed. When Buddy has his eye set on a one-night stand with Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), he gives his boarding pass to Greg, suggesting that he get home to his wife and family. Several hours later, it is reported that the flight has crashed. Buddy is instantly guilt-ridden, abusing alcohol quite frequently for the next year. His boss has Buddy placed in rehab, and Buddy is soon back on his feet.

His first goal is to seek out any individuals whom he may have harmed, such as his 12 step book suggests. He then attempts to seek out Greg’s now widowed wife, Abby (Paltrow), who works as a real estate agent and when Buddy shows up at here office, he pretends to be a client. Even though he is completely over his depression at this point, Buddy still harbors feelings of guilt towards the loss of her husband, and he wants to see that she, and her two kids, are emotionally okay. Before long, she agrees to purchase a piece of property for Buddy’s ad agency. In addition to that, Abby and Buddy develop an attraction to one another. He not only becomes a companion for Abby, but a good father figure for her children, whom he loves equally. Although the two are in love, Buddy still hides a secret within him, which he must eventually reveal to Abby, but is too much in love with her to hurt her. That’s where the uniqueness of Bounce lies, a love story with sort of a suspenseful element as to when and how Buddy’s secret will be revealed.

The movie is complete with strong and emotionally charged performances. Ben Affleck has been known for his slick, humorous characterizations, but his performance in Bounce is perhaps the actor’s most serious one to date, which is likely to surprise a lot of people. He is thoroughly convincing, as is the ever-wonderful Ms. Paltrow, who plays Abby as a openly happy woman who disguises the pain and sadness of someone who has lost someone close to them. Seeing these two act their hearts out on the screen together is a knockout, and Bounce is terrifically matured romance that is indeed a perfect date movie, especially if you’re stocked up on Kleenex tissues.

Video ***

Miramax’s video job on Bounce is for the most part a very good one. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is glowing with bright clearness, and colors are vibrant and in wonderful resolution. A few scenes though in the early stages of the movie are a bit grainy and a little soft, but other than that, this a very decent transfer.

Audio ***1/2

Perhaps as surprisingly good as a romantic movie can get on DVD. The audio job on Bounce is grand piece of work. The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is at times as sweeping as the movie’s story. Airline sounds, for example, are picked up beautifully, and the soundtrack to the film is the transfer’s strongest area, as various songs are heard in true clearness. A dynamite job.

Features ****

Miramax offers a rare 2 disc set edition with a load of extras that are sure to keep you busy after watching the movie. Disc one includes the feature film, a commentary track by director Don Roos and producer Bobby Cohen, as well as sneak peek trailers for Unbreakable, Boys & Girls, The Cider House Rules, Emma, Shakespeare in Love and more. Disc 2 is the real deal. Included on this disc are a deleted scenes compilation with director commentary, two documentaries: “All About Bounce” and “Ben and Gwyneth Go Behind the Scenes”, a gag reel, the movie’s trailer, the music video for the song “Need to be Next to You”, and a series of selected scenes with commentary by director Don Roos, Ben Affleck, and Gwyneth Paltrow, which is indeed the best feature.

Summary:

Bounce is about as true and honest as any film of its kind can get. Affleck and Paltrow deserve extreme credit for their tremendously good work here, and I certainly hope that the two will reunite together soon for another project.