Plot: What’s it about?
There’s a strange thing about fate that just can’t be explained. In the case of Bounce it certainly can. Fate is when two people meet or share an experience without any forethought. As the tagline of this movie clearly states, “Two strangers fell in love. One knew it wasn’t by chance.” So what’s all the talk about fate then? As much as Bounce isn’t about fate, it is. Take Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck), for example. Buddy is a young, successful advertising executive who happens to own 20% of the firm he works for. Thanks in no small part to Buddy’s efforts, they have just landed (no pun intended) a large airline account, Infinity. Buddy is on his way back to Los Angeles, when the weather turns bad. He and everyone else are stuck in the airport, so Buddy decides to head to the bar and down a few drinks. Nothing wrong with any of that. It just so happens that Buddy meets Mimi (Natasha Henstridge) in the bar and they start talking. Nothing wrong with any of that. In addition, another stranded passenger also heading to Los Angeles (Mimi is going to Dallas) by the name of Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn). Greg is a struggling playwright whose last production has just been given horrible reviews. A nice guy in general, Greg’s major concern is to get back to his family in time. After a few more drinks, all the flights but one have been cancelled (the one going to LA). Buddy sees more potential with a night at the hotel airport with Mimi than going home on time. So, doing what he believes is the right thing, he gives his ticket to Greg. This is when fate intervenes. While the movie doesn’t show anything too risque, it cuts to Mimi and Buddy in bed where they both discover that the plane that Buddy was supposed to be on has crashed over Kansas.
Buddy has a burgeoning drinking problem. What he thinks are a few minor drinks (during the day), start to get out of control. His guilt from the plane crash gives him a reason to spiral down into a drunken spill. It also happens that Buddy’s firm has been charged with the account for the airline (the airline puts out “We’re so sorry…” spots in honor of the passengers who were killed in the crash). Not liking what he sees, and feeling somewhat responsible, Buddy is forced to check into a rehab center. This brings us to Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow). Abby was Greg’s wife. As part of a “making up” process that alcoholics go through, Buddy decides to make amends and sort of “play God” while confronting Abby. She is a moderately successful realtor who has just now gotten over the death of her husband. Naturally, Buddy is attracted to Abby and decides to throw a little business her way. You see, the firm Buddy works at is moving and he decides to enlist the help of Abby (as a realtor) to broker the deal, thereby letting her get the commission for the sale. What happens, aside from the deal, is that they start to see each other and fall in love. This would have been a great story, except for the fact that Buddy has been lying to Abby since the second he saw her. She has two kids, two great kids at that, and as sort of a backlashed compassion, Buddy keeps his secret about her deceased husband. Had this plan of worked, everything would probably be fine; but Mimi showed up in town on business and gave Abby a copy of the tape that the three made at the airport in the bar. Mimi feels that in some sentimental sort of way, she would enjoy seeing video of her husband. Of course, Mimi doesn’t know that Abby and Buddy are now seeing each other. As you can well imagine, the walls come tumbling down.
Bounce certainly isn’t the most original concept of a movie, but it has all the elements that make it a strong movie. For the most part, it has great performances by the two lead actors, Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. What concerned me the most was the use, or misuse rather, of the supporting cast. Literally with 10 minutes of screen time between them are Natasha Henstridge and Tony Goldwyn. While Henstridge is more known for her body and “B” type movies, she has established herself as a very versatile actress. Goldwyn hasn’t been given many chances to shine since “Ghost”, but why use two established actors if you really want the movie to star “Ben and Gwyneth”? Also used, more so than the other two actors, are Joe Morton (as Buddy’s boss), Jennifer Grey and Johnny Galecki. Morton has a good part, but Grey and Galecki are laid to waste as an ex-floozy airline attendant and a “guardian angel” gay assistant respectively. Oh well…while Bounce is still a good film, it’s nothing that will leap out at you and scream Best Picture, though it does still have moments where Roos’ other film, The Opposite of Sex, stand out. It will make you think, and probably make you cry.
Video: How does it look?
It’s been over a decade since I last saw this film and having seen so many films in between, I really had no idea what to expect. Lionsgate has done, by and large, a very good job with these catalog Miramax titles when it comes to audio and video, so it was with high hopes that I popped in Bounce. As it turns out, this 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer looks good, but I don’t feel it’s quite up to par with some releases of the day. Colors are a bit on the softer side and though detail has been improved, it’s not quite as eye-popping as I’d have thought. Contrast is solid as are black levels, but there seems to be something that I can’t quite put my finger on – it seems to date the movie a bit. While not a horrible transfer, there are certainly better ones from this same era (early 2000’s) that look much better.
Audio: How does it sound?
I’m going back a ways in my viewing experience, but I don’t recall Bounce really being that strong on the audio front. It’s a dialogue-driven film with a few ambient surround effects thrown in for good measure. Dialogue is strong and centered well in the channel and even Affleck, who tends to mumble, is well-represented here. The soundtrack is somewhat faint and even whimsical at times, but I’m really hard-pressed to find too much else to say about it. Yes, it’s a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, but that’s only on paper. The previous 5.1 mix sounded just as good and though there are a few instances of note, this one didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As is the case with other Lionsgate titles, the previous two-disc version of Bounce does indeed have all of the supplements ported over to this new Blu-ray edition. The same dual commentary tracks are present with the first one with director Don Roos and producer Bobby Cohen and the second with Paltrow, Roos and Ben Affleck. Affleck gives some entertaining commentary tracks as evidenced by his recent one on The Town, but seems rather taken with himself on this one. Then again it’s eleven years old and people do tend to mellow out over time. We’re treated to seven deleted scenes with commentary, a gag reel as well as “All about Bounce” featurette, which is both dated and non-informative. “Ben and Gwyneth Go Behind-the-Scenes” is just that, Gwyneth cuddling up next to the boom man and some of their antics on set (if they only knew it would never last…). Something I don’t remember being on the original two-disc edition is the music video “Need to Be Next To You” but I’m sure it was.