The Rebound

The Rebound


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a divorced single mother, with an amusing breakup story. Her husband's infidelities are unintentionally archived for posterity on her Apple Macintosh. Taking the children to New York and struggling to adjust to the culture shock, she quickly finds herself needing a nanny for the children. Enter Aram (Justin Bartha), a 24-year old college graduate, struggling to find himself on the professional job ladder, and quietly smarting from a painful breakup with a manipulative French girl, who was ultimately fishing for a green card.

Sandy and Aram are both trying to get themselves off the ground, with twin job interviews from hell: Sandy is saved due to freakish level of skill with statistics (bordering on OCD), Aram due to his inexperience with women's issues. They both get the jobs, Sandy as a statistics researcher and staff writer, and Aram as a human punchbag at a ladies' self defence class. One swift unleashing of the "Ocean of Anger" and a subsequent meeting in Aram's other job in the coffee shop beneath Sandy's apartment, he becomes the children's new nanny. A good thing, too, since Sandy is being recognised at work, and has to work harder and spend more time in the office.

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In an effort for a rebound fling, advised by her mates, Sandy goes fishing for a bit of no-strings attached sex with a suitable suitor. A date with a chiropractor goes disastrously wrong, his turn into a portacabin for a quick crap leading to squirm inducing laughs as Sandy freaks out (without saying a word; it's all in the eyes) at his unwashed hands and full-on touchy-feely demeanour. Aram also goes out looking for love, with similar results, a choice cut being a woefully-inarticulate hairbrained cutie-pie - "I love theories, they make me a little horny!"

The nice thing about The Rebound is that the characters mostly play it straight with good performances; the situation comedy is light, if mostly obvious. The script boasts a few clever wrinkles on the tropes of romantic comedies, the Meet Cute, Falling In Love, Falling Out and Pining. Like Ben Younger's similarly themed Prime, starring Uma Thurman, the age-gap between the central pair leaves them ostracised.

The Rebound is mostly better than it has to be - while never stretching quite as far as it could reach. The film mines much humour from the characters' reactions alone , and some hilariously unorthodox methods in babysitting - staging American Idol in the living room, and am-dram productions of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre just prior to bedtime ("Tomorrow night, The Grudge!").

For the most part, it's a sweetly understated addition to the romantic comedy genre. There's a place where the film should have ended, a saccharine coda tacked on at the end loses it half a star - likely dictated by focus-group - and spoils the goodwill generated up until then.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2010
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A young New Yorker finds himself smitten with the single mother next door, despite a challenging age difference.
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Read more The Rebound reviews:

Josh Morrall ***
Chris ***

Director: Bart Freundlich

Writer: Bart Freundlich

Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha

Year: 2009

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2010

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