Unlike most romantic comedies; which focus on a fairly normal, wholly attractive, and slightly neurotic, woman falling for a totally incompatible man that they would never even dream of getting involved with; The Rebound follows a sexy, middle-aged, mother-of-two, as she splits from her husband, moves into the city, and develops a crush on her newly appointed nanny; a man 16 years her junior.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro) stars as the aforementioned, attractive, mother-of-two, who’s world gets turned upside down when she stumbles across a video of her husband cheating on her, and decides to up-sticks, and move both herself and her two children into the bustling metropolis of Manhattan; a decision which is a huge step, as the kids appear to have never even been to the city (as evident by their pointing and shouting about how ‘gross’ beggars are, and inability to fully comprehend the jibes of the inner-city children), and Sandy (Zeta-Jones) hasn’t had a job since the kids have been born.
Owing to her boredom, time, and what she describes as an excellent satellite TV package, Sandy quickly lands herself a job working as parts of a sports news team which, combined with her ongoing ‘rough patch’ and slight breakdown, forces her to seek a little extra help for taking care of the kids, and more out of necessity than desire, she enlists the help of Aram (Justin Bartha, The Hangover); a young, extremely clever, yet unambitious, man who accepts as much out of pity, and an unwilling to say no, than anything else.
Beginning their relationship as employer and employee, Sandy (who’s divorce is still ongoing) and Aram (who despite his youth, is also going through a divorce, and having a rough time dealing with it) soon become extremely close friends, and begin to wonder if there can ever be anything more between them?; as while Sandy may be attractive, into sports, and financially secure, she’s got two children, doesn’t appear entirely together, and has been using Aram to babysit while she goes on dates with men her own age, whilst Aram may love the kids, be just as hopelessly romantic as she wants, and see a true future for them together, he still reads Harry Potter books, is close to two decades younger than her, and doesn’t have any career inclinations whatsoever.
So the film then becomes a question of not if they are right for one another (because they clearly fit together amazingly well, and obviously love each other), but whether or not they can make their relationship work with their obvious generational gap; something that will not only make forming their own family harder, but is often ridiculed by friends and family on both sides; and if their relationship is actually what they both want, or a simple rebound fling for two very different people both on the tail-end of bad relationships.
On the whole The Rebound feels a little stretched; as the happy-phase of the romance lasts just a little too long (before eventually breaking just a little too easily); and is more like a standard romance than full on romantic-comedy; as whilst there are plenty of amusing moments (all of which originate from Sandy’s children) it’s never laugh-out-loud funny, and fails miserably on the ‘laugh-o-meter’ when compared to any number of other rom-coms.
Justin Bartha and Catherine Zeta-Jones both do well in their respective roles, and clearly provide a big draw for both younger and older women, yet while they are both more than capable of playing their respective parts to a high standard, it’s the chemistry that lets them down; as while Catherine is actually fairly good, Justin just tends to seem constantly awkward (as if he doesn’t feel comfortable himself); and as a result it’s pretty hard to imagine them ever having a real relationship.
All of the supporting cast are also amazingly average, and instantly forgettable (more so than the actors and actresses that make up the majority of ‘best-friend’ roles in most rom-coms), aside from the two children that play Sandy’s kids; who are both brilliant, amusing, and reminiscent of the children in BBC sit-com Outnumbered.
In the end The Rebound’s certainly worth a look; as it gives a slightly new twist on the boy-meets-girl story, and has a fairly impressive ending that presents so many twists it really will have you wondering whether or not Sandy and Aram can live happily ever after; it’s amusing enough, has a good pair of lead actors, is fairly engrossing, and should be enjoyed by both men and women; as long as you don’t go in expecting something as raunchy as The Ugly Truth, quirky as 500 Days of Summer, or touching as When Harry Met Sally.
The Rebound’s video quality seems to follow that of most romantic-comedies; having a fairly warm palette that makes everything look that much more inviting, and turning flesh-tones a subtle shade of orange (that thankfully still looks natural here), whilst also looking ever-so-slightly airbrushed; but thankfully retains a high level of detail, and looks superbly clean (thanks to the absence of grain, or transfer anomalies).
Similarly The Rebounds audio mix; a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack; comes in delivering exactly what you’d expect; with little bass, hardly any noteworthy surround usage, but perfectly crisp and clear dialogue (which is obviously the most important element in a track such as this); that means it’s a mix that won’t stun a single listener, but also won’t disappoint even a single viewer.
What may disappoint some viewers is the lack of special features on The Rebound DVD; as it’s been released without a single piece of bonus material (save for a trailer for The Rebound; the very film on the disc), and has nothing whatsoever to give fans any background information about the film, or even an extra giggle; which make it a real let down for anyone that was hoping to learn a bit about production, check out a deleted scene or two, or get an extra laugh.
The Bottom Line:
Summing up, the Rebound is a fairly generic rom-com that has its fair share of laughs (none of them long-lasting), a couple of lead actors who are worth watching (but somewhat lacking in chemistry, and a little unbelievable as a real couple), and a decent tale of romance that makes it good for whiling away a couple of hours, but not all that likely to make a list of all time greats.
The DVD itself is even more average than the movie; as it’s video and audio quality deliver simply what you’d expect from the genre, and not a hint of anything else, whilst the special features are decidedly less than special, and are entirely missing from the disc; making it an average to disappointing disc which houses an OK film, and nothing more.
The Rebound would make for a good date-night movie; as women of all ages are bound to enjoy it, and men shouldn’t have too hard a time getting on with this rom-com; but despite it’s laughs, and the decent enough storyline, it fails to be anything more than another rom-com of the month.
If you’re spending this Valentine’s Day indoors, you could do much worse than renting The Rebound, but if you really want to score, you’d be better off going for a true romance such as Titanic, a quirky love story like 500 Days of Summer, or a music based number such as Coyote Ugly.