Sunday 29 October 2017

Movie Review: The Bounty Hunter (2010)

A romantic action comedy, The Bounty Hunter is a flighty exercise in star power dimmed by lack of inspiration.

Milo (Gerard Butler) is an ex-cop, now scraping a living as a bounty hunter. His latest assignment is too delicious to turn own: he is asked to track down his ex-wife Nicole (Jennifer Aniston), a driven reporter who missed a court date to chase down a story. Nicole is trying to uncover the truth behind the suspicious suicide of a police evidence room attendant. Meanwhile, fellow reporter Stewart (Jason Sudeikis) is lusting after Nicole to try and get her into a relationship, but she is not interested.

With Stewart not far behind, Milo connects with his flamboyant ex-mother-in-law Kitty (Christine Baranski) and quickly tracks down Nicole in Atlantic City, but she proves to be a handful to control. Soon the bickering couple attract the attention of corrupt cop Earl (Peter Greene), as well as a group of thugs who work for loan shark Irene (Cathy Moriarty). Milo is determined to bring Nicole to justice and collect his bounty, and she is just as insistent on exposing a conspiracy that appears to involve Milo's old cop buddy Bobby (Dorian Missick).

Directed by Andy Tennant, The Bounty Hunter features a mix of harmless action, cartoonish villains, and a barely-there plot all set against a backdrop of a continuously quarrelsome couple. That it will all end with Milo and Nicole reaching some sort of reconciliation is never in doubt; that every possible detour will be deployed to prolong the inevitable is also a certainty.

The film drags on for 106 minutes, much of it registering as an Atlantic City infomercial, as somehow an utterly unnecessary casino gambling interlude is shoehorned into the script. A sojourn onto a swanky golf course is another set-piece, although at least some smiles are raised in a madcap race across the fairways.

The film has nothing if not some star charisma, and Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler do their best to drag proceedings towards a basic level of entertainment. Aniston is more comfortable with the lightweight material and the better moments tend to involve Nicole conniving to rescue bad situations to her advantage. Butler is more monotonal and less effective, his portrayal of the sloppy and boorish Milo presenting a compelling case as to why Nicole should keep her distance.

Not too funny, not too exciting and not too romantic, The Bounty Hunter is not much of anything.

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