The Bounceback (London Film Festival 2013) Review
“I just wanted some other dick,” says Kara (Sara Paxton). “I lived with Jeff’s dick – it’s just so familiar. ”That frank attitude to sex doesn’t just apply to Kara, but from all the main characters in The Bounceback, to the extent that it moves into a bizarre self-congratulatory area, like a 5-year-old proudly swearing in front of classmates. However, it’d be more accurate to describe the characters’ mindsets as belonging to 15-year-olds, even though they’re in their 20s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just a screenplay needs to be sharp if it can sufficiently integrate unlikeable protagonists with a predictable plot that revolves around the Air Sex World Championships and penis photos. The relationship politics involve Kara and her friend Cathy (Ashley Bell) attempting to move on from their ex-boyfriends – or, as phrased by Kara: “You’ve got to put that dick in the past tense.” Both men, played by Zach Cregger and Michael Stahl-David, are in town for the “Air Sex” tournament, which is sort of like what it sounds. What follows is a number of crossover meetings and unfunny sex jokes. The Bounceback is never cutting in its portrayal of modern relationships, with the narrative hinging on smartphones and Facebook updates. Sure, it covers topics a Hollywood studio would be afraid to touch, but the on-stage antics of Fuckasaurus Sex would also fail the quality test. The cast are all admirably lively with the poor material, particularly with the “Air Sex” performances. Similarly, the film is shot and edited with a proficient manner that belies its inevitable future away from any big screens. However, that contradiction highlights a major fault; for all its edginess, the saccharine subplots (one involving a pretty musician seems injected from a different film) ruin the anarchic nature – which was hampered by a lacklustre script anyway. The Bounceback is part of the London Film Festival’s “Laugh” strand. Screening information can be found here.