The Bounty Hunter
Lovely leads make better BFFs than supposed ex-lovers
THIS MEDIOCRE ROM-COM/action flick from director Andy Tennant could have been so much better. The gorgeous leads Jennifer Anniston and Gerard Butler have chemistry, and the setup has potential. Nicole Hurley (Anniston), a Daily News reporter sussing out a mysterious suicide/murder, skips on a court-ordered appearance, making her a felon and the next contract for Milo Boyd (Butler), ex cop, now bounty hunter, and her ex husband. But without any sexual spark between the two, who cares if they get back together?
Nicole and Milo were married for nine months after dating for only six, and you only see traces of the love/hate that spawned their quick union and disillusion. Two years later, she's hunting down her story and doesn't take Milo and his job to turn her in seriously—until he is lifting her up and getting ready to stick her in his car's trunk. Instead of focusing on the sensuality that should be oozing when she wrestles out of his grip, the movie races around New York streets, Atlantic City, and a posh golf course to Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and a Bee Gee remix blaring.
Milo is a believable bounty hunter—wearing sneakers because he's constantly on the run and drinking too much between jobs—but Nicole doesn't even know the basics about reporting (like, that evidence remains in police custody regardless of the status of cases, seriously). Gone to the AC horse track to mull over her notes, Nicole frowns as she turns the pages over. Think harder, Nicole! Heaven forbid you get on the phone or the internet to garner more information. But that's really a problem with the writing, not the acting.
Butler's solid, and his meaty face lends itself to Milo's sexy growls, moments of emotion, and sparks of anger; he is a physical actor and makes the most of running, shooting a gun, and wearing a bath towel around his waist. All of which feels natural and makes it seem like he's having a bit of fun with the material. Aniston sweats it up too, but she totters around in heels with her boobs taking the spotlight in many scenes. Her bag of tricks—playing with her great hair, her little confused frown and giggle—make up a reliably charming Nicole, but Aniston can work harder than her tits.
Some of the bit parts are played with quirk and wit, such as Christine Baranski as Nicole's mom Kitty, a gay man's dream of a woman doing shows in Atlantic City in what can only be described as drag, and Jeff Garlan as Sid, the gruff teddy bear of Sid's Bail Bonds. But Jason Sudeikis comes off more like a bad Saturday Night Live character as Stewart, a wimp of a fellow reporter whose hard-on for Nicole is pathetic. It's sad: Both Nicole and the movie are just plain mean to him.
In classic bounty hunter movie fashion, Milo is also in trouble (gambling debt), which should have resulted in more emotional connection with Nicole (and more often) than the one dinner they share at the bed and breakfast where they got married years ago. The Bounty Hunter shot had tabloids wondering if Aniston had found her man her Scots costar. If the movie is any indication, they're just friends.