The romantic comedy genre has been oversaturated to the point that the field chokes off any remotely interesting contributions. Such films are marginalized or forgotten about, and in the case of The Rebound, it apparently took a long-delayed release to video (after the distributor shut down shortly before a Christmas 2010 release) for the film to have an opportunity to be seen in a wider release. That has to be a good thing, right?
The film was written and directed by Bart Freundlich (Catch That Kid). Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro) is the one undergoing the rebound in the film. She is Sandy, a doting housewife and loving mother of two kids. When she discovers that her husband had been having an affair, she takes the kids and moves to New York City. She meets Aram (Justin Bartha, The Hangover), a college graduate who is currently slinging coffee in a small shop while resisting the urging of his parents (Art Garfunkel and Joanna Gleason) to becoming a working professional. Aram gets along with Sandy's kids well and even considers becoming a Nanny of sorts while Sandy finds her own job as a fact-checker for a news network. You know what is going to come next, attractive woman, attractive guy, the only questions are how and where the hookup and eventual relationship is going to happen.
There is no denying that the overall machinations of The Rebound are dreadful. The character background of Sandy is a little tenuous, and the ease with which she manages to land a job in New York in 2009 is a little more incredulous. The Sandy character in general is built flimsily and is conventional to the story, and Zeta-Jones brings little in the way of charisma to the film, to the point where I was almost rooting for the husband she left (and reappeared later in the film). Her comedic forays in the film, including a blind date that was a little awkward, are stilted and without any laughs, and she is a painful protagonist to sit and watch for 90 minutes.
Bartha on the other hand proves to be an interesting character to a degree. Aram's dilemma is interesting particularly with how things are in today's job market for graduates in a similar position. Does one follow their heart or mind when it comes to their future? The dynamics between Aram and his parents is interesting and helps that conflict along nicely within the story. When throwing in his friendship (with more benefit) with Sandy it makes Bartha's part more compelling to watch than Zeta-Jones, and if I had a film that focused more on that, I might have enjoyed it more than this. Instead we see the two split time during the film figuring out what each wants to do, and the overall result is a film that is schizophrenic in its storytelling.
The weird part for me is that The Rebound had the potential to be a little more than mundane, but not as a romantic comedy. But as it stands, you have two characters that spend more time focusing on their own selves and are almost forced to fornicate so that this film that has many of the usual jokes in it could be called a romantic comedy. Some tweaks to the characters and you might have something that is worth watching. But we don't, and this isn't.
The Blu-ray Disc:
The Rebound comes to Blu-ray in an AVC-encoded 2.35:1 widescreen presentation where the result looks good, even if it has taken three years to arrive to Blu-ray from its initial release. Colors and flesh tones appear natural and are free of image over saturation, and black levels are fine, with shadow delineation appearing strong when viewing some of the darker sequences. There are occasional moments of image softness (or maybe they airbrushed Zeta-Jones), but there is no distracting bouts of DNR or haloing during viewing. Looks fine, is fine.
Fox trots out another DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack for a catalog title, with the result being decent. Dialogue is straightforward and consistent in the center channel, requiring little in the way of adjustment, though in later sequences when Sandy and Aram are at a party, there is some effective immersion during scenes where background music plays, and channel panning and directional effects are occasionally present also. It is not going to be reference quality by any means, but it does the job.
A whole bunch of interviews with the cast and crew (24:36) on set where they talk about their thoughts on the story, production, cast and direction, and everyone talks about how great everyone was in an extended daisy chain of cinematic appreciation.
Honestly, if the choice is between re-watching an older romantic comedy that you can enjoy again and feel nostalgic over, or watching The Rebound and seeing what the experience would be like from this perspective, I'd go for the re-watch. To be fair, there could be a leaner version of The Rebound without so many derivative gags (and a better female lead) down the road. But save yourself for that moment and pay no attention or muscle mass to this one.