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A lewd, crude romantic comedy, “The Bounceback” has moments of ridiculousness but ultimately displays more heart than most of your standard Hollywood romcoms.
“Bounceback” follows Cathy (Ashley Bell) and Stan (Michael Stahl-David of “Cloverfield”) as lovers who parted company when Cathy got accepted to school in New York, while Stan chased his dream as a writer in Los Angeles.
When each of them separately end up back home in Austin, Texas, their mutual friends Kara (Sara Paxton) and Jeff (Zach Cregger) look to not only keep them separated but help them move on. Both Cathy and Stan are not over their old flame and each seems reluctant but willing to rekindle the fires.
Stan meets cute with a musician (Addison Timlin) while Cathy meets Tim (Justin Arnold), each a third wheel for Kara’s reluctant fling with the douchey Ralph (Marshall Allman). Did I mention that Kara and Jeff are also exes, though they have no such anxiety about meeting up with each other?
The film is a mix of raunch and romance; Kara is, dare I use the word, bitchy and vulgar, and Jeff crashes on the couch with his roommates and participates with them in “air sex” shows (think a more amorous air guitar, and yes, this is utterly ridiculous).
With all four leads fighting their feelings, there is time for both some mature, smartly managed relationship narratives and sophomoric shenanigans. The film’s climax occurs partly at a sold-out air-sex show, where a farcical face-off between two exes, performing in mime, demonstrates how the other is a poor lover. Somehow it manages to be patently ridiculous and kind of sweet at the same time.
The four leads perform admirably, and Stahl-David and Bell are great foils for one another (though they have only a few scenes together, their feelings often match up, and a sequence where the exes, each on dates, get calls from each other at the wrong time, is really great). They are both as likable as their sidekicks are not, creating a nice balance for all four characters.
A veritable study in late-20s romantic angst, “The Bounceback” is a fun, breezy flick that should entertain a broader audience while making them think a little.