Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha, Rob Kerkovich
Director: Bart Freundlich
Running Time: 95 mins
The Rebound is an American film about a single mother who moves to New York City with her children, and soon falls into a relationship with a young man working as her babysitter.
A generic romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. Sounds like the recipe for the pure Hollywood formula. However, that’s surprisingly not exactly the case, as although The Rebound does follow the Hollywood formula fairly closely, it also manages to prove an emotionally engaging and often even funny romantic comedy, not to mention two strong lead performances, something that definitely can’t be said for the majority of the genre.
In all honesty, I was really surprised by this film, and the biggest reason why is simple because it actually has some emotional intrigue to it. Yes, the romantic side of the story is totally generic, but what’s genuinely interesting is the backstory and general situation surrounding the two lead characters, particularly Zeta-Jones.
Romantic comedies often fail to pick up on the fact that a person’s individual situation can completely change the make-up of a relationship, but The Rebound manages to be a little more mature by giving us some good insight into this woman’s past troubles, current frustrations and ultimate desires, all of which means that the sudden romantic relationship she enters into with this younger man actually makes good sense, and allows you to stay interested throughout the movie without being jarred by some ridiculously cheesy romantic twist.
Bartha’s character doesn’t have quite as interesting a backstory, however he does manage to work well enough with Zeta-Jones on screen that the two make for an entertaining couple throughout. Again, the romantic relationship here isn’t all that fascinating, but that in truth doesn’t take up too much of the run time, allowing for more time beforehand to watch the duo’s friendship grow, again allowing you to develop more of an emotional connection to the story, rather than just launching into the fairytale like most Hollywood rom-coms do.
What’s more is that the film is at times pretty funny. It’s not an endlessly hilarious film, and some jokes (particularly those that rely on children swearing and/or saying rude things) really fall flat, but there are a good few both simple and pleasant gags throughout that will definitely make you chuckle. Starting strongly from the beginning, the film managed to soften by hardened exterior to the genre very effectively with some good humour, and that in turn allowed me to really start to open up to what does prove a fairly enjoyable watch in the end.
So, on the whole, I rather enjoyed The Rebound. It’s not a perfect film, and real rom-com haters should still steer clear, but it manages to go about the Hollywood formula in a somewhat calmer and more mature fashion, allowing for more character development and emotional intrigue, as well as humour, therefore making for a far more engaging watch than normal, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.