- MPAA: PG-13 for Sexual Content including Suggestive Comments, Language and some Violence.
- Runtime: 110 minutes
The buzz around this film has been nuts, first with the Butler-Aniston romance rumors in the tabloids, then with reviewers taking sides as to how good or bad this movie will be. I have to tell you, I don’t care about celebrity relationships, and based on the trailers, I wasn’t especially looking forward to The Bounty Hunter. I tend to be pretty critical of ‘rom-coms,’ but The Bounty Hunter caught my interest right from the first scene, and managed to surprise me in a few ways.
Gerard Butler plays as Milo, a down-on-his-luck ex-cop turned bounty hunter. He’s divorced, dishevelled, and in debt with a bookie. When his boss hands him his next assignment, he can hardly believe his luck. Within the next few days, he can earn $5,000 for taking his ex-wife to jail. This is where other reviewers would complain that the whole “bounty hunter” thing is just a big gimmick. Well of course it is! What rom-com doesn’t have one? They are all trying to come up with fresh gimmicks in order to validate putting butts in seats. But this gimmick worked for me. Gerard was believably giddy about getting to take his ex to jail. Who wouldn’t be? I couldn’t think of a more fun job than to take my ex to jail and get paid to do it.
Jennifer Aniston plays Milo’s ex-wife, Nicole (a hard nosed reporter), who jumps bail when she misses a court date in order to chase an important lead. Turns out the story she’s working on could be big news and involves some dangerous characters. Milo picks up Nicole, and now we’re at the place where the majority of the movie happens: on the way to jail. From this point on, Milo and Nicole keep one-upping each other: her with creative escape attempts, and him with his cop intuition getting her back in the car. This could have been a drab film with most of it taking place ‘on the way to jail,’ but the blunders are fairly funny, and Butler brings a fresh feel to them. Plus, the film throws a little action into the mix, involving dirty cops, bookie thugs, a shoot-out, and a car-chase.
Butler was a fresh breath of air in his All-American-Gunslinger role. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t done too many of these films yet and still has a mind for action movies…I don’t know. Whatever it was, he definitely gave the action scenes a boost, and had plenty of intensity whether it was focused on his loathing of Nicole, his enjoyment of seeing her suffer inconveniences, or chasing down the bad guy. He was still believable in the romantic moments and wasn’t all gooey about it like Hugh Grant or annoying like Adam Sandler would have been. Aniston was her usual charming self. She has such a wonderful normality about her. Though she’s beautiful, she acts just like every average American woman would in those situations (keeping the female audience from hating her guts), and she offers some really great timing in her comedic moments. The reasons behind their divorce aren’t really explained, but the vagueness is OK in my book. It allows the viewer to fill in the blanks, and lends a little leeway to some of the jokes so they can span in a broader way to anyone who’s ever been in a relationship.
Whether the tabloids are right or not, there’s no denying that these two have some killer chemistry. They pull off an uncomfortable first-meeting-since-the-divorce moment, and are completely at ease with each other during the romantic parts. For all the good work these two managed to suck out of the fairly generic script, the supporting characters were on their ‘A game’ as well. Jeff Garlin plays Milo’s boss, and Siobhan Fallon is his secretary. It’s always a joy to see Siobhan in movies, even if they are just smaller parts. She managed to get quite a few laughs, either by having a quick make-out session with Milo or by delivering lines like, “He’s making fire with two sticks and pure rage,” while smacking gum and wearing skin tight leggings and a tank top. Christine Baranski fills in as Nicole’s show-biz mom, and Jason Sudeikis plays Stewart, who’s convinced he and Nicole have a “thing” since they made-out once at a company Christmas party, and basically stalks her in his attempts to wear her down. Sudeikis sports a mustache (that would make Tom Selleck’s upper lip jealous) and some rockin’ pastel sweater vests.
The music in The Bounty Hunter is fairly non-descript, save for a song or two. It’s mostly just your typical romantic comedy score, but with a little more edge, considering the action scenes. There weren’t any stand-out shots, but every scene felt pretty polished — though the cuts were a little rough. Possibly director Andy Tennant was trying to add to the action element in the story? Or maybe he was just a little rushed? Whatever the case, it was still rough enough to take notice.
Basically, The Bounty Hunter is a slightly better than average romantic comedy. I’m not a big fan of the romantic comedy genre, but for some reason, this one worked for me. It’s not a complete chick-flick, and there’s just enough action in it that guys won’t be bored if their lady-friends want to see it. If you’re a fan of Andy Tennant’s other movies (Fool’s Gold, Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) then you will probably like this one, though it won’t be as memorable. While the story is unbelievable at times and pretty generic; the chemistry, laughs, and action are just enough to keep you invested to the end.
I give The Bounty Hunter 3.5 ‘Making the Delta 88 cool again’ out of 5.