Using two of their usual stars, Miramax finally brought together power couple Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow (or as most seem to call them "Benneth") in a movie where they star together (for the whole movie - "Shakespeare In Love" doesn't count). Although the two of them argue that they aren't together anymore, that's entirely unfortunate, as they end up being one of the most convincing romantic screen couples that I've seen in a long while. "Bounce" has some story flaws, gets a little long towards the end, and seems a bit edited at times.
But I didn't really care, because the two were so good. Affleck plays Buddy Amaral, an advertising executive who gives his plane ticket to another man(Tony Goldwyn) he meets in an airport - he wants to spend a little more time with a woman he just met (Natasha Henstridge). The plane goes down with no survivors and Buddy feels horrible, starting to drink and going into rehab. Soon after, Buddy contacts Abby (Paltrow), the wife of the man he gave the ticket to. She's working as a real estate agent, and he's able to involve her when his company moves to a new building so she can get a commission. From there, the two begin to fall for one another, but of course, the secret of how Buddy knows her still exists.
Paltrow finally plays "normal" and does it beautifully. We believe that she is a real single parent with two kids who is just trying to provide the best for her children. Affleck's performance is easily his best work, as his dramatic moments are engaging and believable. Cinematography by Robert Elswit also is wonderfully delicate and subtle, and it adds a great deal to the proceedings. Writer/Director Don Roos has done a fine job here; the dialogue is above-average, but I felt that there was some moments that seem like material was edited out - this may not have been his choice, but Miramax's, though.
"Bounce" goes back to the rule for romance - do we want to follow these two through the usual obstacles to see them get together? For "Bounce", the answer is yes. There are parts of the story that are predictable, but there are enough little twists to keep us engaged throughout. Most of all, I liked how the movie keeps the drama at a neutral level and doesn't make it too sappy or overdone; it just goes along on it's subtle way and lets us get to know its characters.
"Bounce" occasionally goes over some bumps, but after a long line of incredibly predictable romances, the film is very enjoyable - it definitely won me over.
VIDEO: This is a good presentation from Miramax/Buena Vista, but it doesn't rank among one of their better recent efforts. Much of it looks very good and even great, but some flaws and a bit of an inconsistent sharpness takes away from an otherwise solid piece of work. Again, the picture often displays a sharp, well-defined image, although there were some scenes where softness slightly creeped in. Some of the darker scenes in the film seemed rather murky, as well.
Some flaws appeared and although nothing enormous, a few more than I would like to see became visible. Print flaws occasionally popped up - a number of small speckles and occasionally, one or two more mild marks. These seemed to be located more towards the begining of the film, but still, there were a few more than I was expecting from a movie this new. A couple of traces of shimmer and a tiny bit of pixelation once or twice are the only other concerns.
Colors appeared cool and natural, as the film keeps to a rather subtle color palette throughout the film. Colors seemed well-defined and problem-free, but not bold or vibrant. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good effort from Miramax/Buena Vista, but it fell short of greatness due to a few minor problems along with the way. The layer change on the movie disc is located at 1:17:29 and fairly well placed.
SOUND: As one might expect going into a dialogue-driven dramatic picture like this one, the Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation remains a fairly front-heavy audio affair. One of the few moments of activity throughout the movie is actually in the opening credits as a plane flys through the room.
An element that really helps the film along, keeping it from being too sappy or overdramatic, is Michael Danna's perfect score, which is elegant and lovely, capturing the mood of the moment superbly. Again, surrounds very rarely come into play throughout the entire picture - there's really not that many opportunities throughout the movie where they could have been more active, although maybe some subtle, ambient sounds would have been nice. Audio quality remained very good throughout the film - the music came through clearly and warmly, and dialogue sounded natural and crisp.
MENUS:: The menus have subtle, animated sky backgrounds with the music playing.
Commentary: This is a commentary from director Don Roos and producer Bobby Cohen. It's a pretty low-key commentary as the two have a relaxed chat about general production issues and the film's story. As "Bounce" is not a very technically complicated feature , the commentary mainly discusses the issues behind each scene, whether it be insight about the story or what it was like to work with the actors. A few little jokes about the situations that the characters get into or an obstacle that came up during the filming are tthrown out and there's a couple of good laughs.
A few moments of the track do go a little bit slowly as the comments occasionally focus on praise for the actors or basic story/what's-going-on comments. A few pauses of silence come up throughout the track, but certainly nothing that I found too distracting as the two are able to talk throughout the majority of the picture. It's a good commentary but not a really consistently interesting one - fans of the film who want to know more may want to take a listen.
Sneek Peaks: Although not all of Disney's DVDs have done things this way, we don't have to sit through "forced" trailers when the title is first inserted into the player. These previews have been moved to their own little section where they can be viewed separately. For "Bounce", there are previews for "Music Of The Heart", "Boys and Girls", "The Crew", "Unbreakable", "Emma", "The Pallbearer", "Cider House Rules", "Shakespeare in Love", and promos for Miramax Movies To Remember and the "Bounce" soundtrack.
Second DVD: Many wondered how the features of the "Bounce" 2 DVD edition would be put together across the 2 DVDs. The way that the discs are set-up is that the main commentary is, of course, included with the movie on the first disc, along with the "sneek peak" trailers. The second disc includes the rest of the extras, which are listed below.
Scene-Specific Commentary: Much like what Disney dvd for "Coyote Ugly", several specific scenes from the movie are available with commentary from actor Ben Affleck, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Don Roos. Listening to the first scene available (the opening), it's instantly apparent that Affleck should have been included in the main commentary. Widely known for his hilarious commentary tracks for Kevin Smith features ("Mallrats", C"Chasing Amy"), Affleck instantly starts in with some incredibly hilarious jokes about working on the movie that had me laughing. Not that Paltrow isn't interesting, either - she occasionally adds a few thoughts about the scenes and takes a larger role in talking about some of the other scenes included. Roos generally repeats some of the opinions he shares on the main track, but mostly lets the two stars chat during these separate sequences in the movie. Definitely worth a listen for Affleck and Paltrow's mix of insight and great jokes. 8 scenes from the film in all are available to watch with commentary from the three.
Ben and Gwyneth Go Behind The Scenes: A well-produced, fun documentary, both Paltrow and Affleck (although Affleck is only on-screen for the first interview) play interviewers and go behind-the-scenes to find out more about the people that make the film work, such as the sound guys, still photographer, and co-producer Bobby Cohen, who is also featured on the main commentary track. This is a 22 minute feature that's very interesting to watch and quite informative about what goes on on a film set.
Gag Reel: 5 minutes and 45 seconds of goofs - the majority of which are Affleck making jokes in the middle of scenes or forgetting his lines. Some extremely funny bits and definitely worth a watch.
All About "Bounce": Kind of a hard documentary to watch, as there are some informative moments throughout, but there's a lot of promotional materials within the 22 minute running time to get through to get to some slightly more valuable insights. Some behind-the-scenes footage comes in at times, but much of the documentary is either devoted to interviews talking about the story or clips - clips not only from "Bounce", but clips from some other movies from the aactors. A so-so documentary - not terribly engaging (and there's a chunk of it that even is devoted to promoting the soundtrack).
Deleted Scenes: As stated in a few magazine articles about "Bounce" (and in a few spots during the movie, this also becomes evident), there was quite a bit of footage that was deleted from the film before its release. There are 14 deleted scenes included on this DVD, with optional commentary from director Don Roos and producer Bobby Cohen. Looking through these scenes, there were some really nice moments that I found enjoyable I think may have worked in the movie. On the other side of it, there were some scenes that I felt were very rightly taken out of the film and whose abscence definitely help the pacing of the final movie. All-in-all there are 47 minutes worth of deleted senes (these scenes are from a rough version, complete with time code). The only irritating thing I found with this section was that you can't switch between the audio for the scenes and the commentary with the remote. The commentary does provide basic history behind the scene and why it was cut.
Also: Music video for "Need To Be Next To You" and teaser trailer (full-frame/Dolby 2.0).
Final Thoughts: Once of the most enjoyable on-screen romances I've seen in quite a long time, Affleck and Paltrow turn in fantastic performances - the former couple still has great chemistry with one another. Although "Bounce" received a mixed reception when it was in theaters late last year, I thought it was one of the biggest suprises and still remains one of my top 10 from 2000.
The 2 DVD set provides good audio/video quality and some solid extra features. Recommended.