REBOUND (PG, 87 minutes)
I have always felt that the film editing gimmick known as the "wipe," in which one picture slides off the screen as another slides on, is the cinematic equivalent of a defibrillator. Whenever it's used as much as it is in this lifeless comedy -- about a troubled college basketball coach (a puffy-looking Martin Lawrence) who seeks rehabilitation and good PR by coaching a team of 13-year-olds at his former junior high school -- it's a sure sign that the patient has stopped breathing. I remember that I actually did laugh, once. I just can't remember what I laughed at. Was it at Lawrence, doing one of his trademark cameos, this time as a pimped-out preacher who leads the adorably inept team in a prayer session? No, that wasn't it. Maybe it was at one of the young ballplayers, especially the one with no chin and a chronic nervous stomach (Steven Anthony Lawrence), who boofs every 15 minutes? No, I can assure you that wasn't it. Frankly, I've run out of options as to what it might have been. The movie and its star just aren't that funny. Nor is the transformation of Martin Lawrence's Coach Roy McCormick, from selfish, shallow, lazy jerk to paragon of self-effacing, fatherly virtue, the least bit credible. When the EMF song "Unbelievable" came on the soundtrack, I found myself thinking, "You got that right." Contains comic violence, including the killing of a bird, and a running gag about vomiting. Area theaters.
-- Michael O'Sullivan