With Rebound, the newest sports and children comedy, audiences have every right to be upset. The recipe not only hasn't been changed, it's been left in the oven far too long. Esteemed and volatile college basketball coach Roy McCormack (Martin Lawrence) is thrown out of the league after an incident involving his renowned temper, a basketball, and a dead bird. Looking for a way to look good while the offers roll in, Roy coaches the basketball team at his old junior high school.
Roy has a long road to hoe. The team can't shoot, can't play defense, and may even have trouble breathing. After being shut out 109-0, Roy begins to care. It's not out of any concern for the players, mind you. Getting blown out by triple digits doesn't look good on the resume. So, after some recruiting and some organized practices, wouldn't you know, the team starts winning! And wouldn't you know, the kids learn about teamwork! And wouldn't you know, Roy starts to love the ragamuffins! And wouldn't you know...
That's the big flaw in Rebound -- you know it, all of it. The plot is an updated, lifeless version of Hoosiers, and it proceeds like a "choose your own adventure" story where the answers are given for you. As for the characters, you've seen these people a thousand times before, and as recently as a month ago. Exchange the kids in Kicking & Screaming with the kids in Rebound and you don't know the difference. (In fact, one of the actors, Steven Anthony Lawrence, was in both.)
The adults aren't any better crafted than the kids, and their involvement in the movie is just as predictable. There's a love interest for Roy which goes like this: girl hates boy, boy flirts with girl, girl sees boy isn't such a bad guy, audience does collective Marty Feldman-esque eye roll. I lost track of how many inspiring speeches Roy gave to the kids. It was probably between six and a billion.
I don't think anyone buying a ticket for Rebound is expecting the basketball equivalent of Citizen Kane, but director Steve Carr, the writers, and Lawrence could have shaken things up. This would have been an opportune time for Lawrence to let loose circa 1995, to do what Farrell did in Kicking & Screaming, instead of acting as if the shooting schedule ran into his dinner reservations. The writers could have jettisoned some useless adult characters, and let us know the kids better. I would have loved for Megan Mullally's principal to have more screen time with Lawrence. They could have clashed over the school's lack of amenities and lack of funds, with sass dripping from their fangs. Carr and his crew stick to the recipe. There's no sass, plenty of boring characters, and no chance.
Hey #37, you're hogging the frame.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st July 2005
Box Office USA: $16.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $16.8M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 78
IMDB: 5.1 / 10
Director: Steve Carr
Producer: Robert Simonds
Starring: Martin Lawrence as Roy McCormick, Wendy Raquel Robinson as Jeanie Ellis, Breckin Meyer as Tim Fink, Horatio Sanz as Mr. Newirth, Patrick Warburton as Larry Burgess Sr., Oren Williams as Keith Ellis, Megan Mullally as Principal Walsh, Eddy Martin as One-Love, Steven Christopher Parker as Wes, Steven Anthony Lawrence as Ralph, Logan McElroy as Fuzzy, Gus Hoffman as Goggles, Cody Linley as Larry Burgess Jr., Alex Vojdani as Guitar Student, Cole Evan Weiss as Opposing Player #2, Alia Shawkat as Amy, Hailey Noelle Johnson as Little Girl