Bounce


Directed by: Don Roos
Written by:Don Roos
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tony Goldwyn, Alex D. Linz, Natasha Henstridge
Released: March 8, 2001
Grade: B-

It's the week before Christmas and advertising executive Buddy Amaral (Affleck) is stuck at the airport waiting for his delayed flight to Los Angeles.  Heading to the airport bar, he share a few drinks and some interesting conversation with fellow travellers Mimi (Henstridge) and Greg (Goldwyn).  Greg’s also heading to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with his wife and children but is on an ever-growing waiting list to secure a ticket.  Mimi's flight is going to be at least 12 hours late so the airline has provided her with a hotel voucher for a free night's accommodation.

As Buddy's own flight gets called around 10pm, he decides to play the nice guy routine.  He offers Greg his ticket on the plane who graciously accepts.  This leaves Buddy stuck at the airport for the night and provides the excuse to head back to Mimi's room for a one night stand.

Flashing lights and loud sirens awake them both the following morning.  Flight 82, of which Greg was a passenger, crashed killing everyone on board.  After this incredible twist of fate, Buddy's life now has new meaning - he should have been on that plane and somehow, he's still alive.  It's too much to deal with and developing alcohol problems see him wind up in a drug rehabilitation clinic.

A year passes and Buddy returns to work at his advertising business.  In the back of his mind, he's always felt guilty about giving Greg that ticket and he goes in search of his wife, Abby (Paltrow), to see how she is coping with the loss.  The problem is that as Buddy meets Abby and gets to know her, he develops a mutual attraction.  Can he continue this relationship?  Can he hide the truth that he was the guy who gave her husband the ticket who took his life?

Don Roos is a gifted screenwriter whose credits include Boys On The Side and Single White Female.  He made his debut writing/directing effort in 1998's The Opposite Of Sex which is a much underrated comedy.  Making The Opposite Of Sex so special was the dialogue shared between the characters.  It wasn't a bold or original concept but everyone was realistic and funny.  Clearly, Bounce isn't an original idea either but despite Roos’ best efforts, it, like the plane, never gets off the ground.

The film begins promisingly with snazzy opening credits.  Bounce suffers in the final half-hour when it degenerates into a soppy cry-fest with every audience member known exactly what will happen in the end.  Few remember that both Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow have starred together before with both appearing in 1998's Academy Award winning Shakespeare In Love.  They make a believable couple but when the tears start flowing from the two, I couldn't help laughing at how fake it all seemed.

The reviews have been surprisingly upbeat from the States and I went with an open mind but Bounce continues the recent trend of poor romantic dramadies.  With such movies, there are only two possible outcomes - they either end up together or they don't.  Given the lesser emphasis on the ending, what makes the film is its development in the middle.  If you want to see a film that shows what I mean, see The Opposite Of Sex and save Bounce for a later date.