With two of the most recognizable stars in Hollywood taking on leading roles opposite each other, a director who is no stranger to the arena of rom-coms and some snappy promotion, The Bounty Hunter is the latest attempt to see how many Hollywood clichés can be squeezed into its allotted time slot.
Nicole Hurley (Jennifer Aniston) is on the trail of a hot story. One that could completely change the ruling of one man’s suicide and as she digs further perhaps even reveal a high-ranking snitch at the police department. In trouble for “assaulting” a police officer but out on bail, Nicole is about to appear before the judge to argue her case when her source calls with urgent information about the supposed suicide. Ditching her lawyer in order to peruse what could possibly be her biggest story since her career as an investigative reporter began, she finds that instead of Jimmy waiting in their agreed spot, his window is broken out and a black SUV is seen, tires screeching fleeing the scene.
Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) is the laughing stock of his former precinct, quitting his respectable job as a detective because of personal problems that have brought him to drink more than is healthy and crashing on friend’s couches. Now he fills his days hunting down “idiots” who have jumped bail. With a holiday weekend approaching and nothing to keep him occupied, he accepts another job, this time bringing in a Nicole Hurley, who just happens to be his ex-wife. Loving the idea of bringing his wife in, Milo sets off to get her, so cocky in his ability that he won’t even “break a sweat,” only to run into more trouble than he’d bargained for…
Some movies have a “magic” spark that makes them work, whether it be the cast or script, some just have that “something” that makes the film seem special… and then some fail miserably. The Bounty Hunter isn’t really anything worth writing home about, but it cannot be argued that there is something “fun” about the premise. Likely there is some other title out there that would be compatible but in my repertoire of titles, this was a “new” idea (since then, there has been One for the Money). Even with the dozens of clichéd romantic-comedy humor, there are a few surprises in this wild chase. Unexpectedly, there is such a busy plot structure (not only do we have to see Nic and Milo’s personal issues resolved, but each have their own little story unrelated to them reconnecting as a couple) it becomes a hilarious little adventure with some entertaining laugh-out-loud antics that on occasion enter into that famous old-fashioned kind of humor that is known as slapstick. A sprinkling of mystery was a nice touch as it heightens audiences’ senses making it surprisingly engaging, more so than a will-they-or-won’t-they-be-together at films close – in a nutshell where the script is concerned, this can be seen as more than just a piece of “romantic fluff.” Typical of any production, this shares some poignant moments (primarily about making mistakes, but not necessarily about learning from them) and turns out a cute albeit sudden end.
Director Andy Tennant has a reputation for taking on this genre and as it would happen, a handful of those are favored around my house. He most always relates the story in such a way that makes it too likeable to notice just how repetitive some of the twists are. Going into this, I had some expectations for it but at the same time I think I sort of assumed it may not wind up being the best either, so by the time credits roll, I probably didn’t love it as much as previous projects. Not being a fan of either star, thoughts about the cast seem neither glowing nor are they negative, but either way, they played their parts well enough. Except for the couple of scenes when Butler had to briefly step into detective mode; he didn’t seem to play those two scenes so they were believable nor did they seem “authentic” (the way he held the gun, etc.). It’s really too bad that bad language masks this, because otherwise it makes for a fairly harmless, mindless night of entertainment.
(Use discretion: Rated PG13 for an onslaught of profanity, primarily using sh*t plus da**, including being coupled with God several time; bi*ch and a**. There are a couple of obscene gestures and crude references to male and female anatomy [one of which is used as a barter]. A half-dozen or so sexual connotations are bantered about. In passing, Nicole says she would have kissed even a woman. One scene takes place in a dingy “club,” as the camera pans inside, there are several strippers/pole dancers who are not only glimpsed in the background but are dressed very suggestively [Nicole’s wardrobe is inappropriate]. Nicole straddles Milo as he sleeps, pretending to seduce him [there is some foreplay]. Following up a source, Nicole enters a tattoo parlor; with her hands she shows where she wants a “panther” tattoo to cover her frontal body as the camera follows her movements. Violence is more comical than anything however one scene involves a car chase where shots are fired at Milo and Nicole; one man is fatally shot, another wounded.)