Having sat through a number of more serious, “worthy” movies at this year’s EIFF I could tell that the knives were out for this film as soon as I sat down in my seat. The whispers around me of “I kind of need a bit of harmless pap after that last one” and “I’m not expecting anything great here” were quite constant as everyone piled into the screening then defended themselves by claiming motivations of irony and/or fatigue. Well, stuff ‘em is what I say. I sat down to watch The Rebound WANTING to like The Rebound. I watch all kinds of movies, from the “fluff” to the bona fide classics, and I have often enjoyed Catherine Zeta Jones onscreen (okay, okay, I have had a crush on her since “The Darling Buds Of May” but that’s beside the point). Justin Bartha was likeable enough in The Hangover so their pairing up didn’t seem too bad to me.
Things don’t get off to a promising start. Director Bart Freundlich introduces us to Sandy (played by Zeta Jones), a mother of two who drops her kids off at school then drives home while singing along to a Meredith Brooks song. Things dip even further with the scene showing Sandy finding out about her husband’s infidelity, it’s rushed and implausible and doesn’t even bother us yet as we haven’t had a chance to get close to any of the characters. But then Sandy takes her kids to the city and meets young Aram (Justin Bartha) and things pick up a bit. We’ve seen it all before but it’s pretty well done. In fact, imagine Jerry Maguire recast with Catherine Zeta Jones as Jerry and Justin Bartha as Dorothy, give Jerry the two kids and you’ve almost got the whole thing. Almost.
Thanks to the performances and comfortably familiar material, The Rebound has a pleasant middle section that entertains and allows it to sit just fine amongst other movies of its ilk. I also liked the final act, although it’s definitely one that could annoy quite a few people. So it’s just a shame about that clunky start.
Catherine Zeta Jones is just fine, Justin Bartha is great, the kids (Sadie played by Eliza Callahan and Kelly Gould, Frank Jr. played by Andrew Cherry and Jake Cherry) are amusing and Rob Kerkovich is consistently wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing spectacular here and nothing that will change the face of cinema. And I don’t always prefer comfortable familiarity in my movies either. It’s just that when a film places itself within certain genre boundaries and then does just fine within those boundaries I can’t bring myself to sharpen my knife and rip it to shreds. The script could have been better and the plot not quite so predictable but, overall, it’s enjoyable “niceness” and even those who sat there with their ironic armour on laughed once or twice. I guarantee it.
DIRECTOR: BART FREUNDLICH
CAST: CATHERINE ZETA JONES, JUSTIN BARTHA, ART GARFUNKEL, ROB KERKOVICH
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX