Directed by Don Roos, starring Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natasha Henstridge, Jennifer Grey

If, during 'Bounce', you ripped the seat you were sitting on from the floor and hurled it at Ben Affleck's smug face, would that count as screen violence? How 'Bounce' turned out to be such a poor film is hard to fathom. Writer/Director Don Roos was coming off the back of 'The Opposite of Sex', his excellent acerbic black comedy, Ben Affleck has proved he can act ('Chasing Amy', 'Shakespeare in Love') while Paltrow does vulnerable as well as anybody. 'Bounce' actually starts promisingly enough. Affleck gives up his plane ticket to a stranger in a crowded airport waiting room because he's trying to score with Mimi (Henstridge). Everyone on board dies when the plane crashes and Affleck is wracked with guilt, even more so when a year later he meets and falls for the dead man's wife, Paltrow.

But from there anything promising in the film is discarded. Affleck works in advertising and the chance to satirise the airlines and the advertising industry is flirted with before being rejected. Roos' penchant for snappy dialogue sits uneasily with the slushy love story, and the lack of chemistry between the two leads, coupled with the fact that neither of them are especially likeable characters, makes it hard for you to root for them as we should in a romantic weepy. Paltrow overplays the widow card, looking wounded and hurt whether she is watching TV, selling property or having sex, while Affleck's character development is to move between different degrees of slime. (Smug slime, alcoholic slime, brooding slime and repentant slime, in chronological order.)

Every ridiculous plot turn is just painfully delaying the inevitable ending. Roos chooses to end the film by throwing every cliché he can think of at you and hoping some of it sticks, which it does, but only in your craw. All of which leaves us to consider other matters. Like how Jennifer Grey, of Dirty Dancing, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame, managed to ruin a promising movie career and how the film's press pack tells us that Roos' next project will be an ensemble comedy "based on an idea he hasn't had yet." Which leaves you wondering if he took a similar approach to this film. Avoid.

Pat Nugent