The Rebound, 2009.
Directed by Bart Freundlich.
Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha.
A single mum of two moves to the city to start a new life where she falls for a guy who is not only much younger than her, but also the babysitter.
Having not heard much about this film but feeling the trailer looked pretty generic I decided to keep an open mind for this film. Although I am not a fan of Catherine Zeta-Jones having only ever seen her act in The Mask of Zorro and The Haunting, both of which were a good decade ago, I am quite partial to Justin Bartha, so I hoped I might enjoy the film.
The plot of the film, one which many television shows and future film releases seem to be focusing on, shows an older woman dating a younger man: a cougar. Being an avid fan of Courtney Cox in the TV show Cougar Town I felt that if the writers knew what they were doing this film could be funny, interesting and enjoyable. I was half right. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Sandy, a recently divorced mother of two who moves to the city to start a new life and meets coffee shop worker Aram (Bartha) whilst apartment hunting. She mistakes a joke babysitting offer as a serious one and soon Arum finds himself working as a full time babysitter for Sandy. Inevitably the two spend more and more time together bonding over the kids and flirting with each and they get together. The only problem is he’s 24 and she’s...well, not.
This film works well until the couple get together. This part of the plot generally happens early to mid length into the film allowing enough time for the complication/problem to occur and a then resolution. In The Rebound it happens about three-quarters of the way through. In its delay of the romantic relationship between the two characters it actually saves the film from a worse fate. The lead up and very beginnings of the relationship include some actually witty dialogue and funny scenes, but their break up and five year montage before meeting again for me ruined almost everything previously good about the film. It felt as though the writers had no way of solving the problem of a substantial age gap in a relationship besides a five year montage complete with slow-mo giraffes running through the wilderness and the growth and then loss of Aram’s facial hair.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was actually better than I remember and carried the film well enough and while I struggled to accept Bartha as a 24 year old, it was nice to see him without the dire dialogue of National Treasure, and as director Bart Freundlich’s first major move into this genre he did well on keeping the some of the generic qualities these films have at bay. I wouldn’t recommend rushing to the cinema to see this film but if an evening of popcorn and a half-decent chickflick is what you need, it’s worth watching.
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