Arnold's Cloned And Ben's In Love

ben affleck and gwyneth paltrow in a scene from bounce
This week, CBS News Sunday Morning's John Leonard reviews the new Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle The Sixth Day and Bounce, co-starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow.
My favorite Schwarzenegger movie is Kindergarten Cop. Kids bring out the muscle-bound best in the big bully. With a kid in the picture, we don't have to worry whether Arnold is sincere. Arnold is a product: the action hero. And a service: payback. He doesn't do sincere. But he is often thunderstruck.

In The Sixth Day, for instance, he comes home to a birthday party with his wife and kids, to find another Arnold already there. Like Daisy the sheep, Arnold has been cloned.

He is, of course, thunderstruck.

They've made a big mistake at RePet, an evil corporation that seems to specialiize in photocopying pets, but is secretly Xeroxing people, too. Two Arnolds are at least more than anybody wants. But which one?

RePet CEO Tony Goldwyn suggests to Arnold that he isn't who he thinks he is, but Arnold isn't buying it. So Goldwyn sends out his assassins. This is RePet's second and last big mistake, causing chase scenes that last longer than the Peloponnesian War.

You may remember that in Total Recall, they transplanted someone else's memories into Arnold's empty head, and he had to go to Mars to find himself.

In both Terminator movies, he wasn't even human.

If I were Arnold, I'd be beside myself, wondering what we have against him.

The Leonard File
Read past reviews by John Leonard.
But I'd rather think about Gwyneth and Ben. In real life, they have been a star-crossed item. On the big screen, as in Bounce, they are terrific fun to watch.

In Bounce, Ben Affleck is an ad man, so you'd think he was beyond guilt. But because he gave his airline ticket to Tony Goldwyn, who's a much nicer guy in this movie than he is in The Sixth Day, but dies a lot sooner, and then the plane crashes, killing everybody.

Ben feels so responsible that he drinks too much and then sneaks up on the widow, Gwyneth Paltrow. He even throws some real-estate business her way. She gets interested, he gets freaked. But, hey, she's Gwyneth, so who couldn't fall in love? As beautiful as she is, she's evefunnier. He ought to 'fess up, but it's a movie.

A film like Bounce counts on the fact that we can't help rooting for two such attractive people. And Ben and Gwyneth obviously dig each other now, whereas one feels that most movie lovers wouldn't go to the same bomb shelter in real life.

But while Bounce has some lovely moments and some witty ones, the whole premise is such a cheap trick that they re-shot the ending four times, after listening to focus groups.

In other words, they made the movie like an ad.