Directed by: Andy Tennant
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis
Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Release Date: March 19, 2010
PLOT: A bounty hunter (Butler) struggles to keep his ex-wife (Aniston) under control when he is assigned to bring her in for skipping bail.
WHO’S IT FOR?: I am not going to advocate the disappointment, waste of money, and loss of time that is promoted by this miserable experience. Before becoming a tragic witness to this disaster’s laziness, I could only imagine the indifference the creators had when settling on the no-flare title “The Bounty Hunter.” It is astounding that they didn’t keep up with the hot trend of ruining Beatles songs and title this sucker “For No One.” Either way, fellow moviegoer – Aniston and Butler committed the crime, and you shouldn’t do the time.
EXPECTATIONS: Compared to his jaunt down Misogyny Lane during last summer’s The Ugly Truth, Butler was more romantic in 300. Here, I wondered if he could bring a new low to a job he doesn’t even deserve in the first place.
Gerard Butler as Milo: The wholly unromantic Butler alternates between bimbo and boy in this role that makes him out to be (even more so) the last on-screen persona that anyone should ever want to get hitched to. A 14-year-old who just got dumped by his first girlfriend is the only suitable match to Milo’s immaturity about relationships. Co-starring with a gun, Butler is no better, especially when the “action” scenes are as blank as his piggish quips or giddy chuckles about having to haul in his ex-wife.
Jennifer Aniston as Nicole Hurley: Compared to Butler, she is not as serious an offender. She’s still a vanilla love interest, even when doing “radical things” like tazing someone or stealing a 17-year-old’s bike. In a sneaky fashion, Aniston realizes that perhaps if her performance is bland enough, she’ll become invisible in the sea of problems that make The Bounty Hunter.
Jason Sudeikis as Stewart: The constantly grinning SNL-cast member plays the mustached dorky foil to the supposedly cool Butler. Stewart is a delusional suitor who fails at making the audience even giggle with his naïve declarations of love to Nicole, as she is completely oblivious to her lack of interest. Annoyed with his unflattering shtick and pink sweaters, she tries to block him out of her mind, and so do we.
TALKING: The relationship of Milo and Nicole would grab some sort of attention if it were presented in biting dialogue, with the two firing at each other with clever words in a true screwball style. However, wit seems to be a challenge for a movie like The Bounty Hunter, so the only form of biting banter can be felt whenever someone makes a random, if somewhat unfair jab at Aniston’s age.
SIGHTS: The Bounty Hunter makes movie history by featuring the first on-screen deletion of a TiVo program (if you can name another film with such an action, I’d like to know.) No other visual moment compares to this particular milestone. The car-chase is lazy, and the final “showdown” lasts about thirty seconds. Comedian Jeff Garlin is in this movie, but is only on-screen for two scenes. Perhaps he just needed enough money for a TiVo?
SOUNDS: Taking a cue from the other worst film of the year, Percy Jackson: Stupid Movie, Long Title, this movie uses Ke$ha’s song “Tik Tok” in a gambling scene, despite the tune having no lyrical references to casinos, Rain Man, etc. It is worth noting, however, that this movie steps it up and puts a second song by Ke$ha at the end – a similar sounding “ballad” called “Your Love is My Drug.” Also, for no good reason, a modern dance-pop version of “Staylin’ Alive” by the BeeGees can be heard in one scene. I am certain that this caused Maurice Gibb to roll in his grave so much that he became a zombie. I’d wish for him to eat the brains of whoever thought that song needed an update, but I doubt Zombie Maurice Gibb would have much to chew on.
BEST SCENE: There is no good moment in this movie. Scientifically, this then cancels out the proposition of having to choose a scene that can be considered the “best.” My brain is further stumped in that I can’t say that my theatre going experience was any better than watching The Bounty Hunter, as the outstandingly professional projectionist had the wrong lens size for about the first minute of the public screening. It wasn’t as frustrating as the time I saw a pre-screening of Frost/Nixon at the same place, only to have the final interview scene complimented by the time-killer trivia questions playing over Frank Langella’s face, but it was close.
ENDING: My flashback to “Arrested Development” brought me the only comfort I experienced sitting through this garbage – “No touching!” A fellow, more seasoned film critic shared a similar look of frustrated disbelief as the credits started rolling. However, he looked as if he had just walked into his kitchen, only to see that all his cats had been set on fire, and that the smoke detector didn’t even go off.
QUESTIONS: Perhaps I was too busy dreaming of Boba Fett to catch this, but what happened between these two? It just didn’t work out?
REWATCHABILITY: Never. If my ankle were to be chained to a wall with The Bounty Hunter playing across the room on TNT, I would proudly saw through my leg bone in order to change the channel to reruns of The Wolfman en Espanol instead.
If I wanted to watch a movie about a manipulative man and woman becoming an unlikely couple through a series of wacky situations, I’d stay home, eat some cookies, and watch His Girl Friday, or any other screwball comedy that fails to be copied by the painful The Bounty Hunter. But I suppose even the consideration of what makes a good odd couple is beyond the brain-cell count of this movie. The Bounty Hunter equals its amount of chemistry with laughs (0.0%). A script like The Bounty Hunter seems to feed off movie clichés, while it takes its two unlikable characters through a series of unfunny situations (golf cart chase, bike chase) and offers them dialogue that is equally witless. The side stories like Milo’s gambling debt, Nicole’s bail dilemma, and a kidnapping, are all overlooked for a predictable storyline of their second chance at “love.” Then, the movie has the absolute audacity to put its last action sequence in a shady-looking warehouse. This is a cliche that speaks about more than just the tone of a particular scene. It confirms the Hunter’s intended forfeit of quality, and champions the high degree of laziness that stinks up the entire picture. The criminals that created this massive insult don’t seem to care about this movie, and neither should we.
FINAL SCORE: 1/10