A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bounce Back is an opposites-attract romantic comedy about a self-help relationship expert (Shemar Moore) who ends up debating on-air with a therapist (Nadine Velazquez) who thinks he's totally wrong. There's implied sex between adults -- couples are shown before and after, usually with a shirtless man and bra-clad woman in bed together -- and talk of teens who've had sex. Adults drink socially, and occasional but not frequent language includes "s--t," "bitch," "damn," and "ass." There's nothing here that's too heavy for most teens, but the movie's target audience is adults who will most understand and appreciate its relationship themes.
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What's the story?
Matthew Taylor (Shemar Moore) is a divorced dad -- as well as a relationship expert who's doing a national tour to promote his best-selling self-help book, THE BOUNCE BACK. His publicist/friend, Terry (Bill Bellamy), keeps pushing Matthew to have an actual relationship, since it looks bad for a "love guru" to be unattached. During one of his speaking engagements, Matthew meets therapist Kristin Peralta (Nadine Velazquez), who's tired of her clients believing that Taylor and his book can change their lives. She thinks Matthew is a fraud, and their on-stage debate leads to an unexpected opportunity to team up as a he-said, she-said duo. As they grow closer, Kristin must decide whether Matthew's feelings for her are real or a publicity stunt.
Is it any good?
Veteran TV actors Moore and Velazquez are fun to see starring in a movie, but this opposites-attract romcom is too formulaic to make much of an impact. Moore, who spent nearly two decades on television (Criminal Minds, The Young and the Restless) and Velazquez, who's best known for her small role in Flight and five years on My Name Is Earl, are both talented enough to make a hate-turns-to-love story work. But the material just isn't any better than so much of the forgettable color-by-numbers stuff that passes for romantic comedy in Hollywood these days.
Bellamy attempts to inject some humor as the perpetually concerned Terry, who wants to elevate Matthew's credibility but is foiled by his friend's bad-for-the-brand decisions. And newcomer Nadja Alaya deserves notice after holding her own as Matthew's 13-year-old daughter Aleya, who's having her own early romantic troubles. Their scenes together are some of the movie's best, and it's hard to recall another time that Moore has played a father. Although The Bounce Back is pleasant enough to stream or rent, it's not the kind of romantic comedy you'll think about after the credits roll.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about love and sex in The Bounce Back. How is sex depicted? What role does it play in the characters' lives? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Why do you think so many romantic comedies are about couples who don't like each other at first? What's the appeal of the "opposites attract" story? Can you think of other fictional couples who fit in this category?
What does the movie have to say about painful break-ups and relationships? How do they change people?
- In theaters: December 9, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: April 4, 2017
- Cast: Shemar Moore, Nadine Velazquez, Bill Bellamy
- Director: Youssef Delara
- Studio: Viva Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, language and brief drug use
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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