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:: Bounce

This film provides exactly the sort of thing that viewers want from a romantic drama: two people who fall in love from unusual circumstances, then pushed apart by complications before finding happiness again. “Bounce” has no real surprises or twists, but contains very good dialogue to make it a generally pleasant experience. Ben Affleck plays Buddy, a cocky and womanising advertising executive who meets TV writer Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn) while waiting for a flight. He persuades a flight attendant to circumvent airport procedures, gives Greg his own ticket and leaves to be with his new friend Mimi (Natasha Henstridge). Later, he is shocked to learn that Flight 82 crashed killing Greg and everybody else on board. Guilt-stricken, Buddy ends up in rehabilitation for several months to kick his alcohol problems, before returning to his old job. He then looks up Greg’s family and meets the widow, Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is now raising two boys alone. The two soon engage in a deeper relationship in a curious manner. 

Much of the good aspects can be attributed to Paltrow. She plays a woman who is most appealing and incredibly unaware of her appeal. She makes her character, Abby, quirky and poignant. Director and screenwriter, Don Roos, gives her one memorable scene in a café that is designed to make you fall in love with the character. 

The movie is likeable, but Affleck is a slight letdown as Buddy. The story is supposed to reveal how this endearing woman transforms him from zero to hero, but Affleck isn’t really up to the challenge. He is handsome and charming, but is soulless. His feelings of culpability go largely unexplored. It doesn’t cripple the movie because it’s still smart and an old-fashioned romantic tale, but it could have been more. 

Effective romances are difficult to craft. They must be sentimental and endearing without going overboard. Low-key love stories run the risk of coming across as cold and unemotional. Director Don Roos lands somewhere in the right slot. It’s hardly typical, though, of the old daring, independent Miramax philosophy in taking risks. “Bounce” fits the new Miramax profile of playing safe.