[MOVIE REVIEW]'Bounce' Needs More Spring

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[MOVIE REVIEW]'Bounce' Needs More Spring

Buddy (Ben Affleck) is an efficient and successful advertising executive who borders on the overconfident. His world is turned upside down when he offers his seat on an overbooked airplane to a stranger - not as a kind gesture, but in order to spend the night with a woman.

The plane crashes, killing all on board. Buddy, left feeling deeply guilty, turns to drink until he becomes an alcoholic. Realizing he needs help, Buddy seeks help in a rehabilitation center.

One of the steps in recovery, however, is righting past wrongs. So Buddy tries to find the wife of the man who took his seat. He finds Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), a widow with two little boys.

Abby, working as a real estate agent, has tried hard to bounce back from her loss. She introduces herself not as a widow but a divorcee to Buddy because she is trying to hide what happened to her.

Quickly it becomes evident that love is in store for Buddy and Abby. With this story, the director Don Roos, who wrote the script for the successful "Boys on the Side" (1995), tries to bring life to the complicated and subtle changes of emotions that these two people experience. Unfortunately, however, his attempt mostly fails.

The plot is awkward and lacks details, without enough information to help the audience understand their changes. Buddy, who first wanted to avoid Abby, suddenly considers her the love of his life. Abby's two kids, who were once hostile to Buddy, inexplicably open up to him. Either Buddy is ingenious at winning others' hearts or the director lacks the skill to make his film complete, or at least understandable. Considering that Buddy is afraid of making new relationships after his addiction, the answer seems to be the latter.

Paltrow does not look as classically beautiful as in "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), for which she won an Oscar, nor as versatile as in "Sliding Doors" (1998). Rather, she remains true to her role as the plain, uneasy and indigent widow. But Paltrow indeed looks much more mature in her performance, contributing some of the few worthwhile aspects to the movie. Affleck's performance as a former alcohol addict is also commendable.

"Bounce" has the unfortunate fate of being a love story centering around a plane crash - fine last year when it was released in the United States, but since the events of Sept. 11, it seems somewhat distasteful now. "Bounce" will be released in Korea on Oct. 27.

by Chun Su-jin

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