"The Bounty Hunter" Movie Review (2010)

4/01/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

“The Bounty Hunter”

Directed by Andy Tennant, written by Sarah Thorp, 106 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

There isn’t a surprise to be had in Andy Tennant’s “The Bounty Hunter.” There isn’t a moment that isn’t telegraphed. There isn’t a time when you couldn’t toss some tea leaves and, regardless of your skills in that specialized area, know exactly what’s coming next. The story already has been told in countless other movies.

So, the question is obvious. Why does the film exist?

Beyond the studio’s hope of making a profit, two good reasons are the eye candy generously provide by its stars--Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. Onscreen, it’s undeniable that they look great together, but where is the chemistry between them? They smile on cue, they shout on cue, they twinkle on cue, but somebody should have clued them in to the fact that struggling to generate a chemistry isn’t the same thing as possessing real chemistry. You can’t go through the motions and expect your audience to buy manufactured emotions, because they won’t. They’re smarter than that.

It’s curious. Much has been written in the tabloids about how these two have it hard for each other in their private lives, but this movie should snuff those rumors cold in the same way that “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” reinforced just the opposite for its stars, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. When “Smith” was released, there was no denying the chemistry between the couple--it blistered the screen and helped to make for a good movie. When the rumors proved true that they were seeing each other, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But here? You almost want to giggle in the face of such rumors.

And that’s a problem. A film like this isn’t selling itself with its plot, which actually is a good thing because the plot is a remedial mess. Instead, it’s hedging its bets on a spark to occur between the leads that will light the screen. If Columbia Pictures had that, they would have had a hit on their hands, regardless of the plot. But no. Here is a movie that went up against “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and lost. “Bounty” came in third at the box office for a reason, and it will disappear quickly for the same reason.

The plot--well, where does one begin? A good place is at the streamlining factory. The movie is a screwball mess of contrived tantrums, murder cover-ups, awkward romantic asides, shoot-outs and, wedged into all of this, how the journalist Nicole Hurly (Aniston) must deal with her ex-husband, the bounty hunter Milo Boyd (Butler), when she skips a court date so she can follow through on a potentially important story. Somehow, the stars align, because out of all the bounty hunters in New Jersey, it’s naturally Milo who gets the job to bring in his ex-wife.

They hate each other with a white-hot passion, but since it’s unclear why there is so much hate between them, the movie gives you nothing to latch onto. What brought them together in the first place? Don’t know. Why should we want to see them together in the future? Don’t know, don’t care. And because you don’t care, the movie is reduced to a formulaic vanity piece of hissy fits for its two stars. The performances are adequate, but like the movie, nothing special. Aniston is Aniston. Butler is Butler.

Boring is boring.

Grade: C-

View WeekinRewind's preview of "The Bounty Hunter" below. What are your thoughts of the movie?

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