Ok, confession time. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy. Sue me. There is an entire subgenre of romantic comedies that deals with single parents. In the German film Mostly Martha, a driven chef has to care for her sister’s daughter after her sibling and her husband die in a car crash. The title character struggles to make things work with her sometimes angsty “daughter” and balance work/life. This was remade, with mixed results as No Reservations starring Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Which brings me to The Rebound. Catherine Zeta-Jones is divorcing her husband after she accidentally catches him on tape in an affair. She has something of a mid-life crisis as she moves her kids to New York City, gets a job at an ESPN clone… and beds the slacker man-child who she hires as her babysitter. Thus the rebound relationship. The Rebound spins along amiably enough, but the final “love conquers all” ending which romantic comedies are obliged to have felt tacked on. It was as if the writer/director, Bart Freundlich, had painted himself into a corner with the story and couldn’t come up with a better ending. On a trivia note Freundlich is married to Julianne Moore.
The Decoy Bride
Then there is the subgenre of rom-coms centered around option #2. Oh, you’re getting married? Are you sure she’s the girl for you? You see there’s this girl you never knew, never really looked at that… oh, you don’t get along at all. Not one bit, even? Like oil and water, eh? Ah, you’re destined to be married then…
This indie film is set primarily on the tiny island of Hegg in the Outer Hebrides. This romantic comedy is a bit of a screwball comedy. A famous, but blocked writer is marrying the most famous Hollywood actress, but their nuptials keep getting ruined because of the paparazzi. So they head to the setting of the writer’s most famous and only book, Hegg, to avoid the paparazzi. However, one photographer follows and the manager for the actress comes up with a brilliant plan. Stage the wedding with a decoy bride. Things spin out of control from there. The couple at the center of this film, writer James Arbor(played by David Tennant) and local girl(played by Kelly MacDonald), have far better chemistry than James and his intended bride. They’re an awkward, quirky, and, yes, cute couple.