The Rebound - DVD Review

'frank conversations about sex, life and love never enter the Sex And The City territory of feeling manufactured and fake'

For a good hour, The Rebound proves itself to be a solid romantic comedy. More than that in fact, the first sixty-minutes of Bart Freundlich's New York set film make for an absolutely solid relationship drama tracking the dynamic between separated housewife Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and frustrated coffee-shop worker Aram (Justin Bartha). Zeta-Jones and Bartha both exude easy-to-like charm and for the most part Freundlich is happy to watch this grow slowly into a relationship further complicated by Sandy's two children, an ex-husband and a best friend who wants her to date every eligible bachelor on the market.

Then, at the beginning of the film's end, Freundlich, who also wrote the script, makes an awful decision. It's the decision made by so many frustratingly slight romantic comedies. On the one hand, there's the brave route the film could have taken where it continues to explore the genuine problems inherent in a relationship where one partner is much the junior of the other. And then there's the other thing. And Freundlich goes for the other thing. Not only does he go for the other thing, he goes for it through the gates of 'montage hell', from which many a film has never emerged victorious. Perhaps with his final shots the director almost succeeds in putting Humpty back together again but for most it will leave a sour taste, that schmaltzy gooey feeling left by a film that should have been much better.

That the director leaves you feeling like this is a real shame because there's a lot of good work here. Sandy's kids (played by Kelly Gould and Andrew Cherry) are real show-stealers, given all the best lines by Freundlich who appears to have watched BBC TV show Outnumbered a few times. Cherry in particular is forthright and often hilarious and even a scene involving projectile vomit manages to succeed. Megan Byrne as Sandy's best friend Molly also adds something really valuable and the frank conversations between the two of them about sex, life and love never enter the Sex And The City territory of feeling manufactured and fake. In fact, the only one of the core cast who disappoints is Rob Kerkovich as Aram's co-worker, a role obviously placed for comic relief, which fails both because it is unnecessarily annoying and horribly overplayed.

For all the strength of the cast though it is Zeta-Jones and Bartha who are most wasted by their director's final miss-steps. Sandy could be stereotype; the older soon-to-be divorcee who moves to the big city with little money, no job and two kids to raise but in Zeta-Jones' hands she appears both warm, vulnerable and generally a delight to spend time with. Bartha is similar, creating a fantastic dynamic with the two child actors which really helps the script to function believably on every level.

Apart from the final fifteen minutes. Which are awful beyond reproach.

The Rebound is released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on Monday 7th February.

Look further...

'sometimes surprisingly insightful on how age could not even be much of a barrier. The movie is refreshingly R-rated, too, not shying away from vulgarities and gross-out humor' - A Place For Reviews, 2.5/4


  1. It's worth a watch. Better than your average romantic comedy by a decent way.