Blu-ray Review: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha in ‘The Rebound’


When a beautiful, smart, suburban 40-year-old mother discovers her husband is cheating, she takes her two children to New York City to start over. A demanding new job forces her to hire a nanny, and she chooses 25-year-old Aram, who is still trying to figure out what he wants in life. Aram increasingly becomes attached to her kids, which further prompts Aram and Sandy to become aware of their own undeniable chemistry.

The Rebound is a romantic comedy directed by Bart Freundlich, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. The film was originally slated for North American release back on December 25, 2010, while its international release was handled earlier in 2009. However, its domestic theatrical release was canceled when the film’s distributor closed down, stalling it in a virtual limbo. Eventually, the film was optioned by The Film Department for a direct to home video release on February 7, 2012.



You’ve seen this film a hundred times before. You know the story. While The Rebound still carries the predictable clichés you would expect, its straightforward realistic nature is refreshingly honest. The story revolves around Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a 40-year-old mother of two and 25-year-old Aram (Justin Bartha) and follows the unexpected certainties of life and love. Sandy is a seemingly happily married housewife, playing the role of a dutiful wife and caring mother. In her spare time she obsesses over sports analytics making sure her trades are in order with her fantasy sports league. Aram is a college graduate and recent divorcee due to a French woman using him for a green card. He’s a foolish romantic of life, mature for his age and remains ever hopeful to follow a life doing what makes him happy despite his parent’s wishes. Their worlds collide when Sandy soon discovers that her husband has been cheating on her. After a hasty divorce, she finds herself uprooting her once suburban life into New York City’s downtown jungle. With her kids, Sadie (Kelly Gould) and Frank Jr. (Andrew Cherry) in tow, she’s determined to give them and herself a fresh start.

Sandy soon finds herself at the coffee shop where Aram works, inquiring about the rental apartment above allowing for their first chance encounter. There second encounter is an indirect result of Aram’s parents setting him up with a job at a women’s counsel centre. Where he soon finds himself as the assistant for whom women vent their frustrations both verbally and physically. Sandy happens to be in the class and with Aram’s help she allows the pent up aggression and anger of her recent divorce overwhelm her. The moment is therapeutic to say the least and soon after Sandy and Aram become friends. When Sandy’s girlfriend sets her up on a blind date she asks for Aram’s help to babysit her kids for an evening. Eventually he’s hired as a full-time nanny and their constant time together leads to an unexpected romance. Or perhaps in both of their cases, their inherent ‘rebound’ relationship.

Without going to the plot any further, The Rebound proves to be a light-hearted affair with a surprising comedic vulgarity. The laugh-out-loud moments are unexpected in an inappropriate context that allows the film to set a specific tone. The comedy isn’t necessarily crude in its delivery. It’s more so smart in its reference to pop-culture and appropriateness that allows a good balance with the realistic dramatic sensibilities of the film.

The Rebound despite its convincingly apparent low-budget also shows us what happens when actors are correctly cast. Zeta-Jones plays a 40-year-old mother of two well, perhaps simply because that’s who she is. Bartha has a naturally aloof appeal, yet is down to earth realistic enough to relate to. Together they carry a hopeful honesty in chemistry which is matched exceedingly well with Gould and Cherry who play Sandy’s children. The scenes with the children are fun and ridiculous moments that allow the film to breathe in manner that makes sense. They’re smarter than they look, retaining information in ways we expect and comically in ways parents naturally have no control over.

Overall the film is paced well during its 95 minute runtime and remains consistent from start to finish. While it does play to the genre of romantic comedies, it doesn’t play to the clichés of the genre as one would expect. There is a progression in the film that keeps it in line with more realistic and honest notions. So yes, while you may have seen this film a hundred times before and yes you might know the story. The Rebound still manages to prove different enough in its capacity to play to the heart. While the Blu-ray transfer maintains the expected sharp details of high definition, giving a nice visual quality. The disc proves to barebones however, aside from the film itself, the only extras available is a cast and crew commentary.

We don’t have all the answers. While we might pretend we do, we know better. The Rebound shows us that as much life is about knowing what you want. You also have to know where you want to go and how you’ll eventually get there, even if it means taking a few unexpected detours along the way. The patience, uncertainty and fear we all experience individually is simply life carrying you along. And in the end, sometimes it’s just about timing and the romantic undertones of whom you want beside you to hold hands with.

I give The Rebound 7 out of 10.

  • Randy

    Cute movie. Love Catherine!