Justin Bartha ('The Hangover') sure doesn't carry much star power, but what about Catherine Zeta Jones? I know she disappeared for a while because of kids, personal issues, and family illness, but what made her slouch to the Justin Bartha level? Featuring the stuff that direct-to-home video movies are made of, Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta Jones deserves much better than 'The Rebound' – a movie where the only consistency is her strong performance.
'The Rebound' has tonal schizophrenia. It doesn't know exactly what it is. Every fifteen minutes or less it turns into something else. It starts as a comedy, then turns into an R-rated comedy, then turns into 'Sex and the City,' then 'Big Daddy,' then a romantic comedy, then a serious romance flick, then a drama, then an indie drama, and wraps up with a pretty little bow on top. The story behind the movie works, it's the execution that brings it down. After watching it, it's no wonder why this 2009 Fox title is just no seeing the light of Blu-ray.
Zeta Jones plays Sandy, an externally happily married trophy wife and mother of two – that is, until she finds a home video of her husband cheating on her. In a huff, Sandy packs up the kids and moves from the suburbs into an apartment above a New York City coffee shop and begins living her life for herself, not for her suffocating soon-to-be ex-husband. She goes out with her girlfriends, finds a jobs doing what she likes – sports writing – and joins a peer group that teaches women to defend themselves verbally and physically. There, she runs into the 25-year-old guy who works in the coffee shop below her apartment, Aram (Bartha).
Like Sandy, Aram is also coming out of a major relationship. He fell in love with and married a French girl only to later discover that she was really using him for a green card. The guy posing as her brother was really her French lover. Aram has been down in the dumps ever since she left him. Technically, both Sandy and Aram are on "the rebound," so the question becomes, "Which character ends up becoming the dreaded rebound that the film's title refers to?"
Sandy and Aram's relationship begins very innocent. Sandy hires Aram to help her with the kids. He falls in love with her good natured children and she admires that. At the same time, Aram knows that he's working for an attractive older woman (supposedly 15 years his senior), so of course he's got a crush on her too. (Please note that this just might be the best that Catherine Zeta Jones has ever looked). As her workload gets heavier, Sandy employs Aram full-time and the two become comfortable around one another, so much so that when the kids spend the weekend with their father, Sandy and Aram decide to spend a night on the town. It's then that the magic happens.
With a title like 'The Rebound,' you know that things are going to go awry in their charming and perfect little relationship. And because of the age difference, you know exactly from where the stem of that rift is going to occur. Because of that, not only is there little tension, but you're somewhat bothered by the fact that you know it isn't going to end well. You like the two characters and what they have is perfect, so when things come crashing down, it's bothersome. No matter where the movie goes from there, it is impossible for it to fully recover because it has betrayed you.
Part of me wants to love 'The Rebound,' but a bigger part of me is so annoyed with the herky-jerky way that it was written and executed. It has the makings for a great rom-com, but ultimately fails to deliver. The script isn't bad, Zeta Jones is fantastic, and the chemistry between her and Bartha is there. I put the blame entirely on post-production. The editing is zany, the tone is inconsistent and unfitting and what should be better than the all the other rom-coms out there winds up being a slopping mediocre mess.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Fox has placed 'The Rebound' on a Region A BD-50 in an eco-friendly blue keepcase. From the look and design of the case and menu, you'd never know that it was a direct-to-Blu-ray title - it looks great. Before getting to the main menu, you must suffer through or skip over the typical fanfare – disclaimers, warnings, vanity reels and trailers for 'In Time' and some terrible-looking thing called 'Mama I Want to Sing.'
Not receiving a theatrical release in the U.S., you'd never expect 'The Rebound' and its 2.35:1 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer to be as strong as it is.
'The Rebound' is 100 percent sharp, clean and clear, the opposite of the movie's content. The finest details are almost always visible, the exception being a handful of softly focused scenes. The warm color palette gives it a comfortable feel, the colors only being overly saturated twice by the director's choice – a vibrant club scene and a neon bowling alley. Black levels are strong and powerful. Despite being inky, they never engulf any detail.
There aren't any instances of noise, DNR, edge enhancement, aliasing, banding or artifacting.
'The Rebound' only offers one listening option – an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track.
The audio starts off strong with loud pop music that fills all speakers. This same full sound accompanies the music throughout the whole film, but during the montage around the 37-minute mark, it drowns out the dialog. The small problem of the vocals appearing a little too soft amidst overpowering music arises from time to time, but the 37-minute mark is the only time that dialog is dropped. Just before the film's climax, there's another montage set to music mixed at an absurd volume. No matter how loud you like it, this peak will cause you to lower the volume instantly. Thank heaven there's no dialog during this montage, as it would inevitably become lost.
Aside from the standard effect of New York City's streets and large crowds, the use of effects in the surround and rear channels are few and far between. Not all, but a majority of the effects emit from the front, losing some of the desired dynamics.
While decent, the audio mix will suffice – but could have been better.
By now, just about every idea for a romantic comedy has been done at least once. It takes something special to make a new one stand out. Most released these days aren't at all memorable. While 'The Rebound' falls victim to this, it sure didn't have to. The story at hand is pretty unique – two people on the rebound find one another and have a perfect relationship, but their major age difference gets in the way – but the end product sure doesn't do it any justice. It feels like the director envisioned one thing in his head, but when the studio didn't like it, they had an editor clumsily re-stitch it together to make it try to match all of the other crap rom-coms out there. Obviously, it doesn't work. The video quality is sharp and detailed, but the audio could have been done better. The bare-bones special features include a sole set of cast and crew interviews that resemble a collection of EPK reels played back to back. Just because Catherine Zeta Jones is great (and looks great) in 'The Rebound,' don't be fooled into thinking that it's something worth impulse buying.