Runtime: 1 Hour
and 46 Minutes
Just when I thought I could forget about "Ghost" along
comes a movie like "Bounce" that brings all the memories
flooding back of why I once grew so tired of films laced with romance.
That is until I saw wonderful little films like "Notting
Hill" and "The Story of Us" which reminded me of
what these movies could be if they actually tried.
This is not to say that "Ghost" was a bad film. Not by any
means. I actually remember enjoying it the first couple of times I
saw it. The problem was that a couple of times wasn't enough for my
mom. This movie picked up for her where "Dirty Dancing"
and "Steel Magnolias" left off. Just the mention of those
films sends shivers down my spine. Not that they are bad either, but
after I saw them fifteen times a week for months on end I began to
get a little jaded. Instead of feeling sad when misfortunes befall
the occupants of these films I chose to cheer. Rooting for death and
damnation at every opportunity. It just felt like the right thing
to do under the circumstances. Tell me I'm not alone on this one.
I know there are others out there who have been through the "chick
flick" gauntlet much the same as I. This whole paragraph sounds
like the basis for an essay in the future. I just may have to do that,
but for now I suppose I should discuss the merits (or lack thereof)
of the film "Bounce".
Why I even bothered to watch a movie starring both Ben Affleck and
Gwyneth Paltrow in the first place is beyond me. Anyone who knows
me knows that I have little room in my heart for either of these,
ahem, actors. I have liked them on a couple of occasions in their
respective careers. Ben was quality in "Mallrats" and his
performance in "Reindeer Games" is not to be missed. As
for Gwyneth, I enjoyed her performance in "Seven" and felt
that she did a fine job in the much overlooked romantic comedy "Sliding
Doors". Notice how I have done nothing but mention movies other
than the one that I am reviewing so far? That's because I would much
rather watch or review one of those movies rather than have to deal
with "Bounce" anymore, but the trip has already begun so
I might as well complete it.
In what has to be one of the most contrived plots of the year 2000,
"Bounce" centers around Buddy Amaral (You want contrived,
you got it.) played by Affleck and Abby Janello (How did they come
up with these names?) portrayed by Paltrow. Buddy is an ad executive
on his way home when, in a gesture of Christmas spirit, he swaps tickets
with Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn) and oh my goodness the plane crashes
and Greg is toast. Buddy now has to deal with the fact that he should
be dead and feels that he has to somehow make amends. After enough
time has passed, he contacts Greg's real estate selling widow Abby,
not disclosing who he is of course, and tries to make things better
for her. He does this by landing her a real estate deal that will
net her a nice commission, which will hopefully allow her to better
provide for herself and her children. Awwww. Isn't that nice of Buddy?
Of course it does not end there. Before it can end we have to become
mired in sap in the form of the inevitable romance that develops between
the two. As the movie drug on, the only thing I could think was: "Will
Buddy make his way into her pants before she finds out who he really
is?" When I find myself asking myself questions like this in
a serious manner, I know that I am watching a film that is in trouble.
A better film would either not allow that question to arise, or treat
it as a joke when it did come up.
The only other thing that popped into my head during the course of
this film was to think of poor Tony Goldwyn. How does he keep getting
involved in these dead husband movies? First "Ghost" and
now this. Obviously, this is how I first made the connection between
the two films, but then I started analyzing the two and found that
they use the same basic premise to cater to different levels of emotion.
"Ghost" was the sad, weepy movie and "Bounce"
is supposed to be the happy, uplifting movie. Both have dead husbands
whose collective demise was brought about by the character who attempts
to woo the wife once the husband is out of the way. The wife finds
out about her husband's demise. Don't even try to say I ruined that
for you either, because it always happens in movies of this ilk. "Bounce"
does not include Whoopi Goldberg, however, so for most of the public
that is a plus in favor of this otherwise negatively endowed film.
In the above comparison between "Ghost" and "Bounce"
the difference between the two is that "Ghost" did those
things well, whereas "Bounce" barely even tried to make
them passable. "Ghost" made me forget that I was watching
actors. It made me care about the people whose stories it had to tell.
It made me loathe certain characters and allowed me to be enchanted
by others. "Bounce"? Well "Bounce" did not make
me care for it's characters. I don't know if I ever truly thought
of Ben and Gwyneth as Buddy and Abby. No, I pretty much always thought
of them as Ben and Gwyneth and that my friends is not going to win
any points in my book.
Sure "Ghost" was sappy and maybe even a little manipulative,
but what it did was tell a genuinely interesting story that reached
for the heart of it's viewers. More often than not it found it. I
know it did in my case. "Bounce" is just plain sappy. It
makes you feel like you are drowning in pretentiousness to the point
that you become encased in sap, much the same as those mosquitoes
from "Jurassic Park".
So if you're looking for a good Tony Goldwyn movie that deals with
dead husbands, or you just want an enjoyable night watching a romantically
entangled movie then do NOT watch "Bounce". Watch "Ghost"
instead. Yes, I know it has Patrick Swayze in it, but just trust me
on this one.