London Film Festival: The Bounceback (2013)

London Film Festival: The Bounceback (2013)

When LA based filmmaker Stan discovers that his Ex-girlfriend is headed back to their hometown of Austin, Texas, he books a flight and goes with the intention to win her back with the help of his best friend Jeff. What happens over the next 48 hours is much more complicated than love and what neither of them ever expected.

It’s a rare thing to get a film for 20-somethings, about 20-somethings that really understands what it was like to be a 20 something; and it’s a difficult thing to capture what it’s truly like to deal with the final transition period of becoming an adult. However, The Bounceback captures one of the most important aspects with carefully observed aplomb – breaking up and moving on.

That The Bounceback would easily make – albeit a slightly less grown-up – first part of an excellent double bill with Favreau’s Swingers should indicate the level of honesty this film finds in it’s topic, and it’s fair to say that director Bryan Poyser is channeling this influence without much discretion. There are straight homages to the answering machine scene (wonderfully updated for the Iphone generation); the vibrant nightlife of a city; hell, there’s even a Vince Vaughn sidekick who steals the show in the form of Zach Kregger (The Whitest Kids U Know).

Director Josh Poyner has made a picture that excels in the full spectrum of what the ‘comedy/drama’ genre has to offer. The film shifts just as easily between gross-out comedy and painfully realised agony and heartache, as it does breezy romance and honest observations of life. It sits comfortably between the dream-like romanticism of 500 Days of Summer and the rose-tinted realism of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy, and is all the better for both.

Perhaps the films greatest success however is it’s setting. Shot in the film-friendly Austin, Texas, the city is arguably the most important character. Austin has never looked this good and the vibrancy of it’s nightlife and unique sub-culture has been caprtured with a careful eye by Director of Photography, PJ Raval. This is a place you want to go: Live music, drinking, dancing, friends – The city really has it all and, in the film’s boldest move, it highlights one of Austin’s biggest sub-culutre entertainments as a B-line: Airsex. It is not for this reviewer to spoil the surprise of what this is but, suffice to say, it is a real ‘sport’ and it is as ridiculous (and funny) as its name suggests.

Whilst the film is a well-balanced affair between awkwarness and truth, it suffers stagnent periods, mostly as a result of the conceit of the central relationship. Cathy (Ashley Bell) and Stan (Michael Stahl David) are nowhere nearly as interesting as the supporting counterparts and, whilst both actors are extremely capable, the material doesn’t really give either of them the opportunity to explore their range as their dual narrative confines both of them to their own individual stories, which while admirable and cuttingly realistic, doesn’t necessarily benefit the film as there are whole sections where you are begging to get back to the supporting cast, particulary Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers), who lights up every scene she’s in with ease.

Overall, the The Bounceback plays itself a little too niche to reach the wider audience it deserves, which is a shame as it really would make a great double bill with the boys who are ‘So money, they don’t even know….”. It is funnny, painfully honest, awkward and comes highly recommended. And just so we’re clear. Airsex is a real thing. Look it up (NSFW).


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