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 versitile 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-floosie 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. In any case, the treatment that Disney has given this film deserves to be seen on DVD.
Video: How does it look?
Bounce is shown in an anamorphic 1.85:1 picture. While the image seems a bit off from time to time, on the whole it looks very clear and sharp. Some stock footage was used, and this is probably what stands out in my mind. Colors are muted a bit, just as in The Opposite of Sex, but don’t detract from the presentation at all. Most of the movie is very colorful and quaint, but black levels seem to be right on target and edge enhancement isn’t a problem. When it comes to day and date releases from Disney, they’re hard to beat…and this is certainly no exception.
Audio: How does it sound?
Reading the above description of the movie, it’s clear to assume that Bounce is a dialogue driven movie. But, unlike some of those type of movies, Bounce does have the chance to flex it’s muscle on your audio system as well. Planes at the beginning make use of the surround channels and dialogue, as always, is clean and clear without any signs of distortion. As one would expect, most of the action comes from the front three channels, but on occasion, the rears are used to spice up the action a little. Again, on the whole, it’s nothing to show your system with, but you could do a lot worse as well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In the ever-growing world of DVD, we are treated to a two-disc edition of Bounce. The features abound, as the most noteworthy extras are the two commentary tracks. The first is with Director Don Roos and Producer Bobby Cohen. This is a nice, informative track as Roos likes to talk (he also wrote the screenplay and the one for The Opposite of Sex as well). The more informative and “fun” one, in my opinion, is the one with Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Roos and Ben Affleck. Affleck, seeming very full of himself, dominates part of the track, but they seem to have fun doing it and it’s with these three that the movie is what it is. The second disc features a wider assortment of extras, inlcuding seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by Roos. Personally I can see why these were left out, except the seventh one. I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that it would make perfect sense to be left in the movie. A gag reel is another feature that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Essentially its the actors messing up their lines and laughing uncontrollably. Eh…A featurette entitled “All About Bounce” has some interviews with Ben and Gwyneth as well as the Director, Don Roos. In the spirit of the Showtime “Spotlight on Location” and HBO’s “First Look”, this is the same thing. A nice, twenty minute supplement that sheds some light on the movie. In a rather annoying sequence, Ben and Gwyneth go behind the scenes and interview different members of the crew. It’s just soooo cute to see Gwyneth cuddling up to the boom man! In closing, Bounce has been given the treatment it deserves, but I was and still am questioning the two disc thing. Remember the Titans had this much information on it, more I think, as was only one disc. To me, it’s just another disc to lose or get scratched, but still it’s nice to see a decent movie get such good treatment.