The romantic comedy wasn't screened by WW
press deadlines, but Ali Rothschild wasn't about to let it skip bail. Here's her review.
The Bounty Hunter
WW Critic's Score:
Did you hear about The Bounty Hunter
? You might be living in a hole if you've managed to miss the overwhelming promotion for Andy Tennant's action-romance, starring Jennifer Aniston as a reporter for The Daily News
and Gerard Butler as her ex-cop ex-husband who hunts her down. Putting aside the improbability of that scenario, as well as the question whether bounty hunters actually exist these days, Tennant's movie will only have a sno-cone's chance in hell of being enjoyable if you find the two stars charming. This particular writer did, which is a pity, since the lousy script does everything it can to ruin a decent premise and somewhat pleasant chemistry between Aniston and Butler.
Trying to recreate a madcap, lovers-at-odds comedy somewhere in between His Girl Friday
and The Thin Man
, The Bounty Hunter
seeks to mix action and romance, with Aniston playing Nicole, a reporter who is hunting down evidence for a New Jersey suicide. Butler is Milo, a bounty hunter who jumps at the chance to capture his ex for missing a court date. Though old-hat, it is a genuinely decent premise: a battle of the exes who fall back in love while they solve some crime. Unfortunately, the plot threads of both Nicole's story and Milo's extraneous gambling debt are so convoluted, that it's only bearable to sit through if you're being entertained by the good-looking leads.
Which leads me to my confession: sure, his face looks kind of badly ironed-on, and he always suggests a certain level of “unshowered,” but there is something about Gerard Butler's growly-asshole-with-a-heart-of-gold character (see also: The Ugly Truth
) that is just my cup of tea, and I'm hoping I'm alone in this. Also, I don't think there is a sophisticated, literary way to convey “YUMMY MUSCLES,” but if there were it would be applicable now. As for Aniston, while every sentence out of her mouth conveys some sort of frustrated disbelief (“My God, Milo!”, “I cannot believe you, Milo!”, “Urghhh, Milo!”), that's the script's fault, not her own, and at 41 years old, Aniston looks damn good doing it, whatever it is.
Does it sound like I'm grasping at straws trying to defend this movie? Let's get down to brass tacks and ask: What is the standard for a romantic comedy these days? If The Proposal
is the best we've got from the last year, this particular form is clearly in the toilet. A true romantic comedy is only successful if you root for the couple in question, and after enduring a slew of non-believable, non-compatible couples in When in Rome
, Couples Retreat
, Leap Year
, Valentine's Day
, Did you Hear About the Morgans?
, to name a few, The Bounty Hunter
duo is not bad. The fact that this couple has a history backing up their actions makes the violent gags bearable, and spares the film from trying to force the inevitable “cute” build-up of a relationship. Instead it lets the two play off each other enough to keep interest, if not always successfully.
The bottom line is, this movie isn't great, but neither are most romantic comedies these days, so if you have to settle on one, you could do worse than Milo and Nicole handcuffing, Tasering, and throwing each other into car trunks. I'm serious. PG-13.
ALI ROTHSCHILD. Opened Friday at Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99 Stadium 11, Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 IMAX, Cinetopia, City Center Stadium 12, Cornelius 9 Cinemas, Division Street Stadium 13, Evergreen Parkway Stadium 13, Hilltop 9 Cinema, Lloyd Center Stadium 10 Cinema, Movies On TV Stadium 16, Oak Grove 8 Cinemas, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Sandy Cinemas, Sherwood Stadium 10, Tigard 11 Cinemas, Wilsonville Stadium 9 Cinema.