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review added: 5/14/01

Exclusive 2-Disc Edition - 2000 (2001) - Miramax Films

review by Brian Ford Sullivan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Bounce: 2-Disc Edition Film Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B+/A-

Specs and Features

Disc One: The Film
107 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:17:29), dual Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary by director Don Roos and co-producer Bobby Cohen, 10 trailers/commercials (for Emma, The Pallbearer, The Cider House Rules, Shakespeare in Love, Music of the Heart, Boys and Girls, The Crew and Unbreakable, along with the Miramax Movies to Remember promo and a Bounce soundtrack promo), animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English & French (DD 5.1), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned

Disc Two: The Supplements
14 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Don Roos and co-producer Bobby Cohen, music video for Need to Be Next to You by Leigh Nash, theatrical teaser, All About Bounce featurette, Ben and Gwyneth Go Behind the Scenes featurette, gag reel, 8 selected scenes with audio commentary by director Don Roos and actors Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none

The notion of fate and destiny always seem to be tied to movies about relationships, but never to the extreme we see it in Don Roos' second film, Bounce. Ben Affleck is Buddy, an advertising executive at the top of his game (or, as Buddy himself puts it, "a born salesman"). During an airport delay in Chicago, he meets two other stranded travelers - Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), an attractive salesman, and Greg (Tony Goldwyn), a world-weary family man. When Buddy finds out that his plane will make it out of Chicago that night, he offers to give his ticket to Greg in the hopes of getting a chance to spend the night with Mimi. Greg graciously accepts and it's this action that sets into motion the rest of the events in the film.

Greg's plane crashes, killing all on board, sending Buddy into a spiral of guilt over Greg's death. He builds an addiction to alcohol, which forces him into rehab after a breakdown at the Clio Awards. About a year later, Buddy manages to patchwork his life back together and decides to try to make amends for his mistakes. Chief among these, is seeking out Greg's widow Abby (played wonderfully Gwyneth Paltrow) to try to help her get back on her feet. When he finds out that she's found work as a real estate agent, he manages to help her broker a deal for his ad agency's new headquarters building. The two soon develop an attraction to each other, and Abby asks him out. Buddy agrees reluctantly, as she still doesn't know exactly who he is. The film then takes us through the highs and lows of their relationship and, ultimately, the revelation of Buddy's real identity (as the man who switched places with her late husband). Also thrown into the mix are Abby's two surprisingly non-precocious children, as well as some fine work by Johnny Galecki as Buddy's assistant.

When I first caught wind of this film, I fully expected it to be along the lines of a Lifetime movie of the week. But was stunned to find the depth and complexity that Don Roos' script, and the actors performances, provided the film. The movie doesn't shy away from the obvious pitfalls that come from a relationship with this type of set-up, nor does it tie everything together in a neat little bow. Abby and Buddy aren't written or portrayed as perfect or infallible beings, something I find very endearing about the film. There's also a myriad of little moments that help add to the characters' relationships without being too trite, whether it be Abby helping a prom date who has toilet paper stuck to her shoe, or Buddy waiting in line with Abby for the bathroom at a baseball game. And the real-life, on-again-off-again relationship between Affleck and Paltrow definitely adds to the on-screen chemistry. All these things help to flesh out a charming and believable relationship, that's not only endearing but also quite refreshing.

Let's talk about this disc itself. Those wondering why in the world a movie like this needs 2 discs' worth of material will be pleasantly surprised. The Disc One offers the film in a nice anamorphic widescreen transfer, which I didn't have too many problems with. A few scenes have some inconsistent sharpness or just look extremely soft compared to the rest of the film, but it's not too distracting. Colors are fairly subtle, as the film seems to stick to a very cool and natural palette. As far as audio, the Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation does a great job here in terms of clarity and in maintaining a very natural and engaging listening experience. From the jets blasting in the beginning to Michael Danna's quietly elegant score, I was very pleased.

Also on Disc One is the first of two audio commentaries (the other I'll get to in a second). This one features director Don Roos and producer Bobby Cohen. The two have a nice rhythm to their conversation, as Cohen generally asks questions about the film or presents ideas about it to Roos, who then responds. It's a good (albeit not great) commentary, especially when compared to the other commentary on Disc Two. Rounding out the first disc are 10 trailers and commercials for Bounce and other Miramax releases, many of which feature either Affleck or Paltrow.

It's over on Disc Two that the extras really start to kick in. Included are 14 deleted scenes, which run well over 45 minutes total. It's fairly obvious, from watching these scenes, that Roos originally had a much longer, more drawn out story in mind, and had to cut back the scope as time started to become an issue (2 hours and 30 minutes seems quite long for a romantic comedy/drama). Many subplots that were either pushed into the background or omitted completely appear here, including a lot of scenes with Johnny Galecki's character, as well as more on the airplane trial subplot. The best scenes in the bunch though are 2 featuring Tony Goldwyn's reappearance in Abby and Buddy's minds. Roos and Cohen offer the reasons why these scenes were cut in an optional audio commentary. Also unique about these scenes is the inclusion of two different endings, both of which run rather long and were thankfully excised in favor of the one in the final cut. I should also note that these scenes appear in very rough form and feature a time code overlay.

The other big feature on the second disc is a series of 8 selected scenes from the film, presented with additional audio commentary by Affleck, Paltrow and Roos. I find it quite odd that Affleck and Paltrow aren't included on a feature length commentary track, but, nevertheless, their presence is felt quite nicely on these selected scenes (which run about 45 minutes in total). Affleck is the most animated of the three, making quite a few amusing jokes - especially about the various endings shot ("We should have released it like Clue!"). Paltrow also plays off Affleck, and it's quite obvious that the pair are still very close off-screen. Roos is pretty silent in this track, serving in Cohen's role on the primary track by asking Ben and Gwyneth about the production.

Disc Two also offers up a pair of "behind-the-scenes" featurettes. All About Bounce is your by-the-numbers, HBO First Look-type of featurette, while Ben and Gwyneth Go Behind the Scenes is a more amusing attempt, with the actors going around the set and interviewing the various people involved in the production. Rounding out the second disc is a hilarious gag reel ("I will give you the corn-holing of a lifetime!"), that runs a brief 5 minutes, as well as the music video for Need to Be Next to You - the song that runs over the closing credits. Finally, you get the film's theatrical teaser trailer.

Overall, Bounce is definitely a film that I didn't expect to enjoy. It also wasn't a DVD I expected to be this impressed with. Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Roos have done an astounding job in putting together a story that (while sticking to the romantic comedy/drama norm) manages to feel quite real and believable. So don't be scared away by the Lifetime drama-style billing the film was released with. Give it a spin and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the film.

Brian Ford Sullivan
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