Ad exec. Buddy is stuck at the airport at Christmas. There's only one flight and after befriending fellow passenger Greg, he gives up his ticket so Greg can see his family. The plane crashes and Greg is killed. A year on Buddy finds Greg's wife, and without revealing who is is, starts a tentative romance.
Fans of writer/director Don Roos' last movie The Opposite of Sex, are in for a disappointment if they expect Bounce to deliver a similarly poignant and dark-humoured drama. Bounce is one of the wettest films to have graced the screen in recent years, sometimes literally, as both leads spend endless scenes in floods of tears.
Remember how Demi Moore made a career out of crying prettily in Ghost? Well, Ben Affleck tries to do the same here, to nauseating effect. His character has a growth path that goes from unlikeable jerk to drunk jerk. Gwyneth Paltrow's character doesn't have much more depth; a mother who seems to have only the vaguest idea about her children, a wife who waxes lyrical about her dead husband but makes all the running in the romantic stakes, and a career woman with no ambition. As a couple, they do look good together, but the fact that they have an on/off real-life relationship really negates any tension in the relationship on screen. Could they possibly end up together? Well, what do you think?
Roos' script doesn't give his cast a chance. Only Roseanne's Johnny Galecki gets to breathe any life and humour into his part as Buddy's bitchy assistant. When the most overused device for moving the plot forward is characters uttering lines like, "Well, you've spent nine months in rehab, what next?", you just know there's something seriously wrong. A smarter script, smarter casting and a soundtrack that didn't feel it had to drum every emotion home with suitable lyrics to match the mood could have elevated this movie into something special. The only enjoyment to be had is in spending time reflecting on how Jennifer Grey - seen here in a small role as one of the airline staff - really did ruin her career with that nose job.
Only those whose hormones rule their opinions of Affleck and Paltrow will feel they give anything above average turns here. In fact, average sums up the whole film, which fails as both a romance and a drama.