November 26, 2000 -- "Bounce" is a kind of old-fashioned romantic story about a tragic plane crash and its continuing effect on a small group of people.
Buddy Amaral (played by Ben Affleck of "Dogma") meets a stranger in an aiport, Greg (Tony Goldwyn of "The Sixth Day"). After talking for a short time, Buddy decides to give his ticket to Greg and spend the night with a girl he met at the airport. The plane crashes, killing Greg and all the other passengers on board. Devastated, Buddy goes into a funk and starts drinking heavily. After checking out of recovery, he decides to help Greg's widow, Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow "The Talented Mr. Ripley"), as part of his 12-step program.
Abby, a real estate agent, gets a gift real estate deal from Buddy, who tries not to make it look too much like a gift. He intends to leave it at that, but gradually the two become lovers. He can't seem to find the right time to reveal his secret, that he was supposed to have been the one who boarded that plane instead of Abby's husband. The whole story boils down to this: What will Abby's reaction be when she finds out the truth? We never see her reaction because the revelation takes place off-screen. That is probably a mistake.
Despite that, the movie holds up pretty well because Affleck and Paltrow are convincing lovers (reportedly they were a real item at one time in Hollywood). Paltrow, especially, is very expressive, and Affleck is convincingly tortured. The two have some very powerful scenes together. One memorable one has Affleck baring his soul, saying he was once cocky, but that was just the booze. He's not sure if he can trust his own judgement again. In another scene, he consoles one of Abby's sons, who blamed himself for his father's death. There are good supporting roles too, especially, Caroline Aaron as Abby's friend Donna, and Johnny Galecki, who plays Seth, Buddy's big-mouthed office assistant.
One of the problems with the movie is that it isn't especially well-written. The motivation for the characters is suspect at times and there's a courtroom scene that looks like it was borrowed from an old Perry Mason episode. I wasn't a big fan of "The Opposite of Sex," writer-director Don Roos' cult hit, but it was better than "Bounce," his latest effort. While love may conquer all, at least some of the time, it can't lift "Bounce" much above the average Hollywood romance. This film rates a C+.
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