Review by Jack Foley
CATHERINE Zeta Jones and Justin Bartha star as a mis-matched couple in this tedious attempt at romantic comedy from Bart (Trust The Man) Freudlich.
The biggest problem with The Rebound is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be: part witty, part sophisticated observation on a May-December romance, or bawdy rom-com with Farrelly brothers elements.
It doesn’t help, either, that the plot doesn’t feel particularly well thought through, or that the film is populated by mostly unlikeable characters.
Jones plays Sandy, a newly single 40-year-old mum, who decides to up sticks and move to New York after discovering that her husband is cheating on her (in plain view, in the kitchen!). Desperate to rediscover her youth and make the most of life in the city, Sandy hires amiable coffee shop worker Aram (Bartha) to babysit the kids… but inadvertently ends up falling for the sensitive softie and embarks on an affair.
Just how far they’ll be allowed to take it remains to be seen, however, as obstacles threaten their happiness at every turn, whether from disapproving friends, returning husbands and age and life experience.
To be fair, Freudlich’s movie could have been an enjoyable romp that takes its cues from the likes of Friends, Sex & The City and Prime, and there are moments when it has some valid observations to make.
But all too often, any goodwill the film generates is defeated by the poor quality of the script and the director’s insistence upon throwing in misplaced humour.
A scene in which Sandy beats up Aram at a self defence/aggression class is one such early example of clumsy plotting, particularly as it serves as the unlikely catalyst for their relationship, while a dinner date that ends in a hideous encounter between Sandy and her date after he’s caught short in a portaloo is evidence of the bad taste jokes that often ensue.
The resolution of the romance between Sandy and Aram is, at least, authentic enough to be believable and even touching in some small way, but is then undone by an extended and unnecessary travel sequence that just feels like padding, and a really bad ‘feel-good’ finale that cheapens the whole endeavour.
Had The Rebound had the guts to stay true to its characters and situations, and strive to find something original to say and do, it could have been a much more worthwhile experience. As things stand, it’s a tedious, uneven and overlong mess that’s guided by two characters you’ll struggle to engage with or feel much sympathy for.
Running time: 95mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 7, 2011
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Catherine Zeta Jones interview
- The Rebound Photo Gallery