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Bounce

Starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow; Natasha Henstridge, Jennifer Grey, Tony Goldwyn
Written and Directed by Don Roos
website: www.miramax.com/bounce

IN SHORT: Passable chickflick. [Rated PG-13 for some language and sensuality. 102 minutes]

When ever we use the phrase "chick flick" we inevitable get half a dozen pieces of dissmail from new readers castigating us for being un-PC. Long term readers, reading that last sentence, are probably reacting with an appropriate <sigh> 'cuz they know it refers to the once potential love of Cranky's life, a self-described waterworks who could always be counted on to properly place these moves in categories other than "crap" which the back of my testosterone enhanced brain would normally do. Said person is long gone from my life and the petrified, shriveled raisin-sized pump of a heart just doesn't have the strength to endure . . .

But it's the job and Gwyneth Paltrow, even without blonde hair, is the proverbial button, so we'll "forced" ourselves through Bounce . . . which wasn't hard. The ex would have been a ragmop by the time the movie was done. We liked the idea of the flick, but didn't like writer/director Don Roos' execution. Bounce is a two character flick that would be fine as an indie flick (3 half-characters fill in the gaps as needed) but is not heavyweight enough for A-list actors. That's a surprise, considering how busy (and enjoyable) his debut flick, The Opposite of Sex, was.

We've been stuck at Chicago's O'Hare International airport, many times. We know what it's like to hang out in the bars, waiting to see if a hotel voucher will show up or if a runway will clear of the snow which tends to drop down like the wrath of God. Been there, done that, good place to start a movie. We're more than sympathetic enough to put ourselves in advertising salesman Buddy Amaral's (Ben Affleck) position. Buddy pals up with Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn) and Mimi cute-blonde-with-no-last-name (Natasha Henstridge), in a bar, while waiting out the Wrath. Greg desperately wants to get back to LA in time for a Cub Scout event with his seven year-old son Scott (Alex D. Linz) the next day. Buddy is holding a ticket for the still expecting to depart, last flight out to LA. Mimi is holding a free hotel voucher.

Well, d'uh.

All Buddy has to do is help Greg get past the flight attendant doing security at the gate (Jennifer Grey) and it's off to the hotel. When Buddy and Mimi wake up the next morning, the teevee news is blaring word that the last Infinity Air flight to LA was, in deed, the last flight to LA.

A year later, as participant in a 12 step program (!) Greg is forced to apologize to all the people he has wronged, which would include the widow Janello. This means sneaking some business to budding real estate agent Abby (Paltrow) who is working hard to support her fatherless kidlets. Buddy, with great clumsiness and by generating great suspicion, does the deal. He doesn't spill his secret. He pisses off his boss (Edward Edwards). And thus ends our story.

Except that, and we will repeat ourselves, Paltrow is cute as the proverbial button. And the attraction is, eventually, mutual. It's a very long eventually, helped along by gratuitously gay half-character Seth (Johnny Galecki), Buddy's assistant. That Seth is gay has absolutely nothing to do with anything relating in any way to the story. That is why it is gratuitous -- unless it is justification for one of Seth's actions halfway through the story, which would make it sexist and stupid. It is a useless addendum put in place to take up time and force movement in what would otherwise be an endless story.

Cranky found himself wishing that Buddy were a Member of the Tribe, even though adding a huge dose of Jewish guilt to this story mix would be exploiting an incredible stereotype. It would have made the wait for Buddy to spill the truth or Abby to discover it by whatever means, more interesting. There is absolutely nothing more I can tell you without spilling any of the remaining plot points, which only enforces our feeling that there is not enough story here. But, gentlemen, sit quietly -- which isn't hard at all considering Roos' femme cast choices -- and you'll rack up major date points. Bounce does push all the buttons that get the waterworks flowing, and we're confirming this based upon the sniffles heard all around us.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Bounce, he would have paid...

$4.50

Just about dateflick level, for reasons mentioned.

Though I'm waiting to hear from some Twilight Zone fanatic that Rod Serling wrote the "here's my ticket, have a nice death" story for Bill Shatner to star in, forty years ago. We're not sure about Shatner, but there's a nagging feeling at the base of our skull that Serling did the preliminary groundwork. Anyone?

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