Most romantic comedies serve their purpose as light entertainment. We float into the cinema in comfort of the knowledge that we can enjoy two hours of mindless viewing, not having to think too deeply about plot or character complexities. This I am not opposed to. This I myself have enjoyed on many a Friday night with friends and a bottle of wine. But The Rebound does not even qualify for this fluffy category and had me calling for a bottle of paint-stripper vodka rather than Pinot Grigio! I spent the majority of the film wondering how Catherine Zeta-Jones had got caught up in such a cringe-worthy mess.
You’ve just got a divorce? No way, I’ve just got a divorce! You’re looking for a place to rent? No way, I know of a place to rent! zzzzzzzzzzz…
The film tracks the journey of family woman Sandy (Zeta-Jones) who moves to New York with her decidedly irritating brats following her divorce from their cheating father. She is left to rebuild her life in this fast-paced new city, in need of a new job and a place to stay. Meanwhile simple mummy’s boy, Aram Finklestein (Justin Bartha) is, coincidently, also recovering from his recent divorce. His French wife leaves him for her own brother having got the green card that she needed from the marriage. WARNING: The film is littered with these prejudice and pointless details, which desperately attempt to rescue a dull and humourless plot. Sandy, who is some fifteen years Aram’s elder, ends up renting an apartment above the coffee shop where he works, and so the ridiculous love saga begins. It was at this point, ten minutes into the film, that I realized I knew how the whole thing was going to pan out. All that was left was the painstaking business of sitting through the embarrassing affair. Sandy goes on a series of painful dates, leaving her beloved children in the capable hands of the man she only met yesterday. Of course, Aram becomes instantly committed to the family and the couple fall in love. But a series of tests come their way in the form of bitter exes and an insensitively handled ectopic pregnancy. The couple are left to decide whether their love can overcome the troubles caused by their awkward age gap. Appeal much?
The Rebound very much crosses the line from funny to plain vulgar. A scene where Sandy has full blown sex on the sofa with her unsuspecting young son watching left me completely turned off. As he uttered the line ‘Mummy, was Aram peeing in you?’, a vivid image of a ‘disturbed children’ special of The Jeremy Kyle Show flashed into my mind. The film had a wannabe Sex and the City vibe with Sandy seeking advice from a liberal gal pal.
Clutching at straws…
I do have to give Catherine Zeta-Jones her dues, she made the best of what was a crude and cheesy script, certainly outshining her male counterpart. The film did improve slightly as it went on and managed to conjure a degree of emotion in places. The hurt of destructive relationships and separation was accurately reflected and the portrayal of an unconventional family situation was also a refreshing idea. But non of this could heal the injuries I had already suffered from the cheap gags, predictable stereotyping and frankly creepy children earlier on in the film.
My advice, give this one a miss. Watching two people fall in love has never been so enraging!