Andy Bockelman: Don’t bother with ‘Bounty Hunter’
April 5, 2010
Seeing one of the stars of "The Bounty Hunter" slung over the shoulder of their co-star stirs up memories of Charles Grodin in the same position with Robert De Niro in "Midnight Run" nearly 25 years ago.
Granted, it's a sexier look with the former pair, but that's about the best thing you can say about their movie.
Ever since getting kicked off the New York police force, Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) has been making ends meet by tracking down and bringing in bail jumpers, a job he can't stand, but a paycheck's a paycheck.
However, when his latest assignment comes in from his bail bondsman boss (Jeff Garlin), he's almost willing to do it pro bono.
Milo's ex-wife, Nicole (Jennifer Aniston), has had a brush with the law, and he knows exactly where to find her. But wrangling Nicole, an investigative reporter sitting on an explosive story, is easier said than done, as she does everything she can to get out of his grip. To make matters worse, the people she's investigating are looking to rub her out, and Milo's bookie (Cathy Moriarty) has plans to do the same to him.
It doesn't seem possible that either of the romantic leads would be so unbearable let alone playing off each other, but here we are.
Aniston is devoid of personality as Nicole, who constantly badgers her ex about his lack of listening skills despite being even guiltier of the same. The details of her arrest and subsequent skipping of her court date aren't particularly interesting, either.
Butler seems to be trying harder, but he can't bring much to a guy whose better qualities include being childish, petty, dim-witted and gambling as if he wants to lose.
No wonder he's so far in debt.
Speaking of which, Moriarty looks unidentifiable as the New Jersey bookie that puts a price on his head. But at least her memorably flinty voice fits the character type. Christine Baranski is a little better as Nicole's mother, an Atlantic City lounge singer who wants her daughter to get back together with Milo regardless of their glaring incompatibility.
You don't have to watch for more than 10 minutes to see where this story of former spouses on the lam is going.
But the makers had to fill the running time with something, and apparently the best that could be done was in giving an undue amount of attention to Nicole's love-struck co-worker, Stewart (Jason Sudeikis), who's so infatuated with her that he follows her into the ladies room.
Coming from Andy Tennant, the director responsible for unmemorable romantic comedies such as "Fool's Gold" and "Sweet Home Alabama," you'd hardly expect a thinker, but at least those were momentarily funny and cute with couples that had something to offer in their matchups. They may play off other people well, but Aniston and Butler just can't ignite a spark together for all their effort.
And that's including when she zaps him with a Taser.
"The Bounty Hunter" isn't especially unpleasant, overly vulgar or anything like that.
It's just boring, with nothing to say and no reason for being in existence. Even if it wouldn't make any sense in context, having Butler shout out his infamous "300" line, "This is Sparta!" in the middle of things would liven it up.
It couldn't be any worse than what they already were working with.