The Rebound

An older woman getting together with a toy boy ought to be a slam dunk of a plot. After all, many young men today would sell their souls for a chance to date someone a little more mature. Yet, while the concept still entices in real life, it would seem that it has run its course onscreen.Sandy (Zeta-Jones) is a doting mother of two with a passion for sports statistics. She’s content with holding the fort at home until she catches her husband cheating on her.One speedy divorce later and Sandy moves to New York City with the kids in tow, where she’s goaded into dating again by a friend. She deals poorly with meeting new men until she becomes acquainted with Aram (Bartha), a college graduate 15 years her junior who works at a café below her apartment while he figures out what to do with his life. A steamy romance ensues, until an inevitable rift develops over their age difference.Writer-director Freundlich started off with a sound concept; a relevant, character-driven romantic comedy that doesn’t waste time on childish business. Unfortunately, he seems to give up somewhere along the way and then forgets to add in comedy altogether. The characters remain pleasantly three-dimensional and Zeta-Jones is that rare, radiant talent who takes “older” roles in stride, but there is something artificial about it all.Much is given away by the fact that every turning point in The Rebound is a result of chance or coincidence, with things happening and people meeting without any real reason. When there are no reasons for a film’s events to take place, it’s hard to find reasons topraise it.