Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Roadshow Films
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The term 'cougar', referring to a woman's pursuit of a younger man, has made its way into the lexicon in recent years. Hell, there's even a TV show devoted to it. Whether or not the term is sexist – I'm guessing the male equivalent would be 'dirty old man' which has been is use ad infinitum – depends very much on your use of the term: do you use it to mock these women or more of a 'you go, girlfriend!'?

Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones, who knows a little something about dirty old men) could be described as a cougar but I don't recall the term being used in The Rebound. That's perhaps to avoid undermining the wish fulfillment storyline of the film – newly separated mother of two finds a new life and love in New York city with a younger man – or alienating the female demographic it is so squarely aimed at. Note: this is definitely a 'girls' night out' flick.

The younger man is Aram, played by Justin Bartha, the bridegroom who went MIA in Vegas in 2009's comedy hit, The Hangover. He's a sensitive fellow who has also just come through a divorce, his French wife having left him for her “brother”. Sandy moves in to the apartment above the coffee shop where Aram works and he's instantly smitten. But Sandy sees only a babysitter and one of the film's funniest sequences sees Aram at home with the kids while Sandy goes on what must be one of the worst (and funniest) blind dates ever committed to celluloid.

Surprisingly for a female-centric rom-com, the humour in writer-director Bart Freundlich's film often runs a little blue; cougar may not get a run but MILF certainly does. And if you don't know what MILF is an acronym for, might I suggest you not Google it on the office computer.

Freundlich also attempts to get at some emotional truths in The Rebound – the age difference, the value of life experience, Aram's parents' disapproval - though I'd suggest it remains more of a romantic comedy than either a romantic or comic drama. And as far as romantic comedies go, The Rebound is one of the more enjoyable and least insulting to hit cinemas in the first quarter of 2010.

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