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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Rebound

You know what makes The Rebound stand out in the sea of current romantic films? The way the male lead (Justin Bartha) keeps his shirt on (mostly). Disappointing though it may be for some segments of the audience, it's a sign that this particular romance is more interested in what's inside its characters than how good they look.

It's an approach that's also reflected in the relatively slow start to proceedings, as writer / director Bart Freundlich takes the time to firmly establish both our 40 year-old and newly single mother of two Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and our 24 year-old and newly single after being tricked into a Green Card marriage Aram (Bartha). While Sandy is soon starting a new life in New York , Aram - who works in the coffee shop below her new apartment - has pretty much given up on both love and life. why else would he take a job as a baby-sitter for Sandy ? Of course, feelings soon develop between the two, but will their relationship survive the age difference and the different stages they're at in life?

It's to this film's credit that you really do want to see this couple make it, thanks largely to excellent performances from Zeta-Jones and Bartha. The chemistry between them more than makes up for a fairly thin story - unfortunately, it's not quite enough to make up for a muddled ending that clearly wants to say one thing but can't really figure out how.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #476)

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