30 September 2008 | bob the moo
Could easily have been made from digital composition of many other films and have been no worse
College basketball coach Roy McCormick is a great coach but also known for his fiery reputation. When one of his outbursts sees the very public death of another college's animal mascot, McCormick finds himself banned from the league but with one chance to redeem himself if he can work the remainder of the season without any trouble. Problem is, nobody will hire him to give him that chance to prove himself worthy of challenging the ban, which leads him to his old high school who haven't won a single game for decades.
I have checked so in 2005 I know we had the technology available to do this film a much easier way. What technology you ask? Well, to answer that you just need to look at the opening montages in the Oscars where Billy Crystal is inserted into the big films that year, or the adverts that feature dead stars in modern locations essentially I guess it is a video version of Photoshop. For Rebound you see we could easily have accessed a handful of selected films, paid for the rights and left them alone with a team of digital editors for about two weeks and then there you have it. For the sports stuff we can go right to pretty much any family-friend basketball film that has comedy fat kids, cocky kids, a kid who "has talent but just needs the right leadership" but who are a total bunch of losers but perhaps can pull it out for "the big game". In regards of the rest of it, well, Lawrence certainly is not short of basic films where he plays the same character who learns lessons, makes smart remarks and, oh, hits it off with the sexy black single mom who originally disliked him for his arrogance but ultimately sees the good in him. If nothing else it would have been both an interesting technical project and a cutting commentary on modern family films if it had all been done by digital composite.
Sadly for us, it is instead a whole new film that does everything that other films have do and aspires to do nothing different and, certainly, nothing better. All the genre boxes are ticked, all the obvious pieces of humour are wheeled out and the narrative (for what it is) goes where you know it will from the very start. The "wacky" music lets us know when we are supposed to laugh and all the cast pull faces whenever they get the chance to do so. Lawrence screams laziness in every aspect whether it be his body or his performance it is clear he cannot be bothered. I write that as someone willing to forgive him because he is pretty funny when he is "on" but in this family rubbish I think he took getting to the set as doing enough. Robinson has a great body and forces herself into affection with Lawrence in the same way everybody else does in these things, whether it be her, Nia Long or whoever. The kids are actually reasonably OK as they have a more straightforward job to deliver; Williams is cool enough to carry the "good kid" role, Martin is a bit irritating but mainly due to his character, McElroy, Hoffman and the others fill in with solid comedy turns. Shawkat is a weird find for Arrested Development fans, but at least she is amusing even if you cannot help feel it must have pained her to go from that to this. Correa-McMullen turns in a similarly solid "I'll do what is required" performance but is sadly more notable now for being killed in a gang-related shooting not long after this film came out.
Other than that tragic footnote though, there is nothing else of particular note about Rebound. It could easily have been other films run together because all it does is tick all the genre boxes without bringing anything new to the party. It is worse than that actually because, in accepting the basics as its all, it is not only mediocre but it mostly wallows in its mediocrity to the point where it offers nothing for adults and only very base entertainment for young children.