|By Mira Harber
Have you ever seen a movie, liked the main characters, admired the writing,
found the premise of the film interesting - and somehow still left feeling
unsatisfied and unsettled?
That would describe my feelings when I left the theater after seeing Bounce.
The movie stars Ben Affleck as an alcoholic advertising executive. He's
slick - a 'born salesman, closer and people person.' It's Christmas
Eve and while Buddy (Affleck) waits for his plane to board he shares some
Christmas cheer with two other travelers, a gorgeous woman & a family
man trying to get home in time for Christmas. Buddy gives his boarding
pass to the family man so that he can stay behind and score some Christmas
cheer with the beautiful woman. Unfortunately the plane crashes, killing
all aboard. Buddy knows that he should have been on that plane & the
one to die. He goes into an alcoholic tailspin for a year, trying to drink
his remorse and guilt away. The crash was not his fault of course, but
he still feels guilt, and after attending an AA meeting, decides to check
out the widow a year after the accident and see how she is doing.
What he doesn't plan of course, is to fall in love. The widow Abby is beautifully
played by Gwenyth Paltrow, sporting brown hair to show that this is a 'serious'
role. She plays a very nice woman who has been dealt a bad blow in life.
One year later, she is coping as well as can be expected and we hope she
will go on and be happy in the end.
Buddy doesn’t tell Abby who is really is, what their connection is, and
the longer he waits, the harder it gets. Affleck does a good job of
playing the slick ad man, and he has a difficult job to perform in transforming
into a really nice guy, but he does it. The script is particularly
well written for Bounce - the lines ring true and the actors are
completely credible saying their lines.
My main problem with this movie is that I think it must have originally
written for actors at least 10 years+ older than the actors who are playing
the parts. Paltrow as the suburban mother of two children ages 9 +5? She
would have to have been a child bride and teen-aged mother herself. For
Affleck to reach the giddy heights of success that he has he would have
to have been a very young whipper-snapper , biz-whiz himself. So this is
my question - who is the target audience for this movie? If you're a twenty-something
I think this movie and the issues that it deals with might be somewhat
premature. If you're thirty or forty-something the characters seem too
young for their roles.
Again, I thought the acting was very competently done, but this movie seems
a little too 'haven't I seen this before, but maybe better?' I'm thinking
of a movie that came out about six months ago, Return to Me, where
a similar situation - very big secret, is not revealed, and the audience
watches,waiting to know when the secret will come out. I thought that it
was odd that when the secret does comes out, we never actually see the
characters' response to discovering the secret - Abby is off camera
when she finds out who Buddy really is. What? It's as strange as it sounds.
I think there was a big chance to take the movie farther than it went with
that scene and it's a shame that the director (Don Roos) didn't follow
All in all, if you want a well-written, well-acted but strangely hollow
movie, this is the film for you.