The Bounce Back

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

There's good-look­ing in the way that reg­u­lar folks are, there's good-look­ing in the way that movie stars are, and then there's good-look­ing in the way the two lead ac­tors of "The Bounce Back" are - too model per­fect lus­cious for their own good (or, at least, for the good of a movie). They're pre­fab hu­man jew­els without flaws, easy on the eyes in a dis­tract­ing Pla­tonic-ideal-of-Bev­erly Hills way. She­mar Moore, who co-pro­duced the movie and stars in it, is a for­mer fash­ion model and day­time-soap stud - he spent 10 years on "The Young and The Rest­less" - who with his dream­boat eyes, ladies'-man smile, and awe­some cover-dude abs is so hand­some and sexy that even play­ing some­one who's sup­posed to be hand­some and sexy, he's a bit too hunk­tas­tic.

His char­ac­ter, Matthew Tay­lor, is a self-help au­thor with an ar­dent fol­low­ing of lovelorn women. He has writ­ten a book, "The Bounce Back", that's climb­ing the best­seller charts, and it's about tak­ing con­trol of your ro­man­tic life by leav­ing the past be­hind. The pain, the self-doubt, the hid­den trauma that made you who you are - Matthew's ad­vice is to throw all that pesky stuff into the trash. In­vent your­self anew, he says. Be­lieve!

"The Bounce Back" is an ex­am­ple of just how L A an in­die film can be. The rea­son I draw at­ten­tion to Moore's look is that even though he isn't a bad ac­tor, his Chip­pen­dale's sin­gle's-bar Lothario sheen is far too present. Matthew is sup­posed to be a writer hawk­ing a hard-won phi­los­o­phy, and he talks about it with mel­low and thought­ful con­vic­tion, but the vibe Moore puts out is: "Fol­low my lead! If you can look like the per­sonal-work­out trainer of the year (or be­come ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with him), you'll achieve suc­cess."

Matthew's op­po­site num­ber - but his per­fect cos­metic coun­ter­part - is Kristin Per­alta, a ther­a­pist played by Na­dine Ve­lazquez (best known for her role on "My Name Is Earl"), who with her Bar­bie bangs and Valkyrie cheek­bones looks like the world's first shrink who also of­fers makeovers. (Come to think of it: That could be an in­dus­try.)

Ap­pear­ing on a talk show with Matthew, she has a bone to pick with his book, be­cause she thinks it's a fraud. That makes sense: Her job isn't to bury the past but to ex­ca­vate it. Their on-air ver­bal tus­sle strikes sparks, and so they be­gin to get in­vited onto other shows as a duel­ing duo. It's Team Freud (Kristin) vs Team You Are Who­ever You Say You Are (Matthew). The movie it­self is like "Adam's Rib" crossed with the now-de­funct Jerry Springer dat­ing game show "Bag­gage."

"The Bounce Back" was co-writ­ten, di­rected, and edited by Yous­eff De­lara, and for a while he cre­ates some lively screw­ball ten­sion. Moore and Ve­lazquez are sharp enough per­form­ers to bring off that time-hon­ored rom­com thing: They con­vince you they truly dis­like each other. Which, of course, only makes their at­trac­tion more nec­es­sary to deny, and there­fore hot­ter. Matthew does tell Kristin she has beau­ti­ful eyes (which is sort of like in­form­ing a starfish that it has five points), but his real love lyric comes a lit­tle later on when he says, "If some­one's go­ing to rip me to shreds on na­tional tele­vi­sion, I'd like it to be you."

They go on TV, and rip each other to shreds, but they also hang out (the love mon­tage is the two of them on tour, sip­ping cham­pagne in first class and shop­ping at street ven­dors), un­til, of course, there's a hope­less mis­un­der­stand­ing that pits them against each other. And then there's the hurt they're con­ceal­ing. Matthew, de­spite the fact that he's a re­la­tion­ship guru, has never got­ten over his di­vorce; Kristin is still smart­ing from a ro­man­tic be­trayal six years be­fore.

What the two need is each other's ther­apy: She has to read his book and stop liv­ing in the past, and he re­quires a lit­tle psy­chi­atric soul mas­sage to re­al­ize that he is liv­ing in the past. "The Bounce Back" parses on a moist sen­si­tive "hu­man" level, but you watch it think­ing: There's a rea­son why Tracy and Hep­burn movies never hinged on ther­apy, and didn't fea­ture ac­tors whose ex­te­ri­ors looked a lot more ex­cit­ing than their in­ner lives. — Reuters

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