Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Rebound

Shall We Hook Up?

While nothing much can be done with the censors' scissors over at Black Swan, The Rebound had a scene shortened which the censors are quite clear to point the finger back the the distributor for its request to opt for a lower rating. In any case, this film is edited, at the scene where in the trailer you see a kid ask Justin Bartha if he was peeing into Catherine Zeta-Jones. So much for a joke that's not given a runway to build up.

Written and directed by Bart Freundlich, The Rebound tells the story of how the going to be divorced mom Sandy (Zeta-Jones) had relocated herself and her two kids Sadie (Eliza Callahan / Kelly Gould) and Frank Jr (Andrew and Jake Cherry) to New York City to start their lives anew, and runs into a drifting Aram Finklestein (Justin Bartha) who's still at the crossroads of his life, not knowing what to do with it and taking the odd jobs as a barista, and helping out at a Women's home. The rebound here could be referring to both leads, since one is in an estranged period with her spouse, and the other just reeling from being used by his French ex-girlfriend for a green card. As you'd have it, he soon becomes the nanny of Sadie's kids when she either gets set up to go on a blind date, or when routines at work in a sports channel run beyond what's reasonable to get her home, and from there the pair hit it off, 15 years age gap notwithstanding.

For this to work, I suppose the chemistry between the leads had to be believable. Zeta-Jones still look gorgeous and it's no wonder how any one would not want to give a relationship a go, while Justin Bartha fit right in as the kid out of college, and being an incredible help around the kids become a plus point for their hook up. Freundlich brings about tried and tested scenes pulled from a typical romantic comedy genre, and it actually just coasts along as we see how the couple tries to figure out their relationship, which of course serves up the requisite frowns from friends and family, especially Aram's (played by Art Garfunkel - yes that Garfunkel! And Joanna Gleason as Dad and Mom respectively).

So it begs the question whether it's socially acceptable for a younger man to go out with an older woman, or vice versa which are scenarios dealt with in other films. For this one, I suppose it's up to your threshold whether it'll work (and the limit to the age gap that you find acceptable), and for the most parts you'll actually find yourself rooting for them, even as their scenes as a couple do take some time to become reality. Which in the meantime you're more than entertained by the antics of Sandy's two kids and that of Aram, which become some of the best comedic scenes in the film. There's this other out of this world comedic situation involving Sandy and her blind date who turns out to be a chiropractic practitioner with some really filthy habits.

However for all the ideas that the narrative had built up, there's a nagging suspicion that it didn't know how to end, which accounted for its very abrupt final act that continued along the path of each lead character's growth in life and finding their true calling. For what it's worth there's even an Eat Pray Love inspired montage sequence for Aram, before everything fizzled hurriedly back to the usual Hollywood finale, that while it was a tremendous letdown, still makes this an ideal choice as a date movie even though it comes with that empty feeling at the end of it all.

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