Wanna know what really bothers me about The Bounty Hunter?
Sarah Thorp gets a writing credit.
This bugs me. Nothing personal. Sarah may very well be a fine human being. Heck, she may even be quite the fine writer. But, how do you deserve a writing credit when you lift, quite literally, every freakin' cliche' from romantic comedies since cinematic time began and wrap them into the admittedly attractive packaging of a Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler rom-com?
The Bounty Hunter tells you almost everything you need to know about this film.
Gerard Butler is Milo, you guessed it, a bounty hunter. He draws the assignment of tracking down his ex-wife (Aniston), Nicole, a reporter who skipped out on a bail hearing while investigating a story.
Is it my imagination or is this entire set up completely unbelievable and utter crap?
Seriously. Wouldn't the mere idea behind an ex-husband/bounty hunter chasing down his ex-wife/bail skipper raise a certain, um, ethical question? Perhaps risking the entire legal case?
Of course, this isn't the only thing unbelievable about The Bounty Hunter, a rom-com with about as much endearing romance and comedy as another cinematic trash heap that arrived on DVD this week, Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Butler and Aniston exhibit zero chemistry.
Zilch. Nada. None.
This shouldn't come as a real surprise, though, given that neither Butler nor Aniston has ever managed to create a convincing or remotely charming romantic flick in their history of manifesting bad cinema.
The sad thing here is that Aniston is, believe it or not, a decent actress. She just chooses badly, very badly. She chooses her husbands badly, her films badly, her romantic leads badly. Aniston needs to either stop choosing her material or fire the agent who is choosing the material for her.
Butler? He's a caveman. Admittedly, he's an attractive caveman, a semi-convincing caveman, a caveman who projects a sort of "good guy" persona that makes you want to watch him.
However, Butler is NOT, I repeat NOT, a romantic leading man. He sucked in P.S. I Love You. He sucked in The Ugly Truth. He sucks in The Bounty Hunter.
Now, then, if you actually enjoyed him in P.S. I Love You and/or The Ugly Truth, then by all means The Bounty Hunter may very well be a tolerable, even slightly enjoyable experience.
Oh, and get a life.
The Bounty Hunter is directed by Andy Tennant, who is noted in the film's advertising as the director of Hitch. Indeed, this is true and, indeed, Hitch an entertaining and well made film thanks to the involvement of the nearly always winning Will Smith. Tennant's last film, however, was Fool's Gold, a dismal production for sure and, without a doubt, The Bounty Hunter is much more in keeping with Fool's Gold than Hitch.
Tennant and screenwriter Sarah Thorp share the blame for The Bounty Hunter, a film that is so dismally written that this writer was sitting in his seat mouthing dialogue before it was spoken and predicting virtually the entire film within the first five minutes. The film is so remarkably bland and predictable that not even the sparkling presence of Aniston and the rugged charm of Butler can elevate it. Their chemistry is about as awkward as that of Butler and Heigl, though the hostility of many of the scenes actually makes it all a bit more tolerable.
Christine Baranski is solid, as always, in a supporting role, however, she's onscreen for about five of the film's 110 minute run time. The remaining 105 minutes are filled with Aniston and Butler fighting, not getting along, running around, solving a case, finding a spark again (unconvincingly!) and, well, you know how this is all going to play out.
Production credits are about as nondescript as the film itself. If you simply must, then at least wait for the film to arrive on home video. Trust me, it won't be long.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic