Sunday, March 21, 2010


Contrary to some horrific reviews, Andy Tennant's The Bounty Hunter isn't all that bad.  Though the story has serious problems with implausibility, Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler's chemistry lights up the screen and then some, in this action/romantic comedy.

Butler plays Milo Boyd, an ex-cop who makes a "mistake" which we never really quite figure out, resulting in his divorce from wife Nicole Hurley (Aniston), a journalist.  Nicole is interested in a story about a police officer who suspiciously commits suicide, although she receives a tip-off from a reliable source Jimmy (Adam Rose), that it may in fact have been a murder.  This of course happens on the same day that she is scheduled to appear in court on a minor traffic offence, resulting in her skipping her own trial to get a lead on her story.  As a result, there is a warrant for Nicole's arrest and guess who gets hired to hunt her down?  You guessed it.

Milo tracks down Nicole in Atlantic City and what ensues is a "Battle of Exes" which involves Nicole constantly trying to escape and outwit Milo.  And believe me, they pull out all the stops including handcuffing each other to bedposts, making up stories of hot love affairs to make each other jealous and perhaps the lowest of lows, using a Taser Gun.  The journey isn't all-angry as the former couple take a trip down Memory Lane together, and why it is they truly broke up in the first place becomes confused.  Milo however, remains focused on getting his $5,000 reward for turning in Nicole, while she never loses sight of her need to escape from Milo, yet being drawn back to him time and again.  If only rekindling romance were that easy in real life....

Meanwhile, Earl (Peter Greene) is believed to have been responsible for the death of the earlier mentioned police officer and he captures Jimmy, who reveals to him that Nicole was tipped-off with the incriminating information.  Nicole is a wanted woman by both the law and the law-breakers, while at the same time, Milo is a wanted man for $11,000 in gambling debts he had incurred. Everything ties together at the end as Nicole manages to escape from Milo finally to get the information she needs from Jimmy, but just when she doesn't need Milo any longer, she learns otherwise soon enough, as she is forced to face her most dangerous pursuer, Earl.

The Bounty Hunter has a very complicated and self-indulgent storyline which assumes we are willing to suspend our disbelief that any of this could ever really happen.  And of course it wouldn't.  In the very least though, I was never bored and there are some pretty humorous moments involving Nicole's uninhibited mother Kitty, played by the always enjoyable Christine Baranski and also Saturday Night Live's Jason Sudeikis as Stewart, a delusional colleague of Nicole's who is convinced that she is in love with him.  Oddly, he too gets entangled in the messy pursuit.

Really, I do enjoy Jennifer Aniston as an actress and it is a shame to see her consistently choose roles which don't fully challenge her acting ability and this is yet again one of them.  The same can be said about Gerard Butler who has shown so much promise, yet continues to star in misfired blockbusters.  I really hope that they take the harsh criticism this time around and make something of it because it's time we saw something new from them.

Sony/Columbia Pictures' The Bounty Hunter is now in wide release and really not as bad as they make it out to be.  Grade: C+

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