The Bounty Hunter is a foul motion picture, and yet another in a long line of projects to waste the talents of Jennifer Aniston. Since her heyday as Rachel in Friends niston has impressed with her effortless charm, sex appeal and surprisingly deft comic touch. The Bounty Hunter is another numbskull Rom-Com that refuses to give the actress anything interesting to do, instead abandoning her amidst a mire of dreadful jokes and weak plotting. However her male co-star Gerard Butler is exactly the sort of performer who should occupy this sort of DOA comedy, the Scotsman once again proving why he’s one of the worst leading men currently populating mainstream Hollywood.
Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) is a committed and dedicated journalist, and one with a hot tip concerning a recent and highly suspicious suicide. In order to get more firsthand information for her article, Nicole skips a court appearance regarding a minor misdemeanour, and a warrant is quickly established for her arrest. Taking up the task of capturing her is bounty hunter Milo (Gerard Butler), who also has the distinguishing feature of being Nicole’s ex-husband. It doesn’t take Milo long before he catches up with Nicole, quickly detaining his target with plans to take her directly to jail. However Nicole’s journalistic prodding quickly interrupts matters, revealing her hunches to be correct as goons and gangsters emerge from the woodwork in an attempt to terminate her. As a result Milo is forced to help her investigate the story, which in turn ignites a spark within their flailing relationship.
Warning signs should flash as soon as director Any Tennant’s name appears in the credits of any movie, the man could helm a picture providing the formula for money trees or the cure for cancer, and yet it would almost certainly still be worthless. Tennant has guided recent stinkers like Hitch and Fool’s Gold, yet somehow The Bounty Hunter tops them all in terms of sheer awfulness. The film has no energy or invention, Tennant piecing together the production as unimaginatively as possible. The Bounty Hunter fancies itself as an action comedy, but the movie fails notably in both arenas. It’s hardly a surprise that the film isn’t funny, after all Tennant has proved several times that he has absolutely no aptitude for comic timing, but he fudges the action just as badly. Any sequence in which a gun is brandished or a car chase ensues is miserably pedestrian, Tennant having seemingly learnt his trade from a copy of “generic filmmaking for dummies”. His direction is so lifeless and dull that no amount of bullets or fist fights can save the wretched enterprise, especially when they’re filmed with so little panache or flair.
The central relationship is poorly sketched out by a dismal screenplay, and the sad sack chemistry between Aniston and Butler doesn’t help either. Both actors are physically attractive, but never do they manage to emit any heat or sexiness, instead depicting their dynamic as one rife with petty squabbles and nasty bickering. Aniston clearly thinks her natural likability will cover up any cracks surrounding her individual performance (and to be fair it kind of does), but Butler is just as insufferable as ever. The actor storms around the picture in the most idiotic of fashions, obnoxiously spouting lame gags and generally just embracing his distasteful moronic persona too heartily. Butler also fluffs every dramatic moment the movie attempts to spin, granted the script sucks so badly that these scenes probably wouldn’t have worked anyway, but the actor’s boorish and shallow performance is what undercuts these instances from the outset.
The crime solving mystery that’s meant to pull the whole thing together is ridiculously bland, a sin that might have been forgivable if the jokes were any good, but they’re not. The supporting cast comprises of broad and unoriginal work from otherwise talented folks, Jeff Garlin (underused), Christine Baranski (overly familiar) and SNL comedian Jason Sudeikis (tolerable but forgettable) just some of the casualties this atrocity boasts.
The Bounty Hunter is a completely unrewarding watch, and a pitch perfect example of how drab and uninspired contemporary Rom-Coms have become. The film fails to stir a single titter, the action is beyond crappy and the central relationship has all the sass and electricity of a month old used condom. Jennifer Aniston is worth better material than this, and Gerard Butler should stop testing the world’s patience and just give up the acting game altogether. After all, careers have died on the back of better things than The Bounty Hunter. Much better things.
Director: Andy Tennant
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Gio Perez
Runtime: 111 min