Mark Reviews Movies

THE BOUNTY HUNTER (2010)

1 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Andy Tennant

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Jason Sudeikis, Christine Baranski, Peter Greene, Jeff Garland, Joel Marsh Garland, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Adam Rose, Cathy Moriarty

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content including suggestive comments, language and some violence)

Running Time: 1:50

Release Date: 3/19/10


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Review by Mark Dujsik | March 20, 2010

At least the teaser scene at the beginning of The Bounty Hunter tells anyone who might be curious about what the movie is about exactly what it's about. In it, Milo (Gerard Butler) is established as a bounty hunter, and Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) is a wanted felon. Then, after Nicole punches Milo in the crotch and Milo proceeds to tackler her, the arrowed titles point right at them and state they are divorced.

From that, anyone who might care to ponder what will happen in The Bounty Hunter will know pretty much everything that will result of this convergence of justice and post-marital squabbling. Those people are free to leave the theater if they are wary of suffering through yet another romantic comedy in which the only difference from the rest is the gimmick used to set in motion the bickering, resentment, and inevitable reconciliation.

Is there any other genre out there in which one can reveal such a vital piece of information regarding the plot and not feel the need to warn of a spoiler?  No one will be surprised to learn that the two hating rivals of this movie will wind up together after enduring a slew of misadventures and miscommunications.

It's frustrating, this blatant transparency. It is especially so in this example, which piles on distraction after pointless distraction of subplot in an attempt to divert attention away from how formulaic and predictable the main plot is.

That story is Milo trying to bring Nicole to jail, and Nicole attempting to escape him. This is straightforward motivation, but nonetheless, both characters repeatedly contradict their respective goals. Milo decides to take Nicole's offer to turn $500 into $10,000 in Atlantic City for her freedom. If he does it, she goes free; if he doesn't, he takes her to jail. The way screenwriter Sarah Thorp plays this deal, it seems like a waste of money for Nicole.

For Milo is a chronic gambler. Nicole knows this. She also knows Milo hates her and has every reason to take her prison for breaking bail, regardless of how his luck at the craps tables turns. He loses when she stops blowing on his dice, because as he reversely states, Milo doesn't make his own luck and can't do things without her.

Milo is $11,000 in the red to a bookie (Cathy Moriarty). This means a couple of goons are after him. They are inept, as most goons in this kind of thing are, and keep mistaking someone else for Milo or discovering his classic car and finding he's not with it. So many events and characters are shifted around in and out of Milo and Nicole's plot to keep it as such.

There's Stewart (Jason Sudeikis), one of Nicole's co-workers, who has a massive crush on the woman after they made out at a holiday party. Nicole is a journalist, one of the select few careers that Movie Professional Women have, and after so many event coordinators recently, it's slightly a surprise to find this profession in use again—but only slightly. Stewart is mistaken for Milo and is held captive even after the mistake is clarified. The lesson is not to have a crush on the leading lady, especially when her ex-husband has a gambling problem.

As a journalist, Nicole has, naturally, unraveled a conspiracy shortly before Milo meets up with her again. It's the reason she misses her court date, and now, she—get this—has a corrupt cop (Peter Greene) after her.

That Thorp never has these conflicting chasers meet up in a massive mix-up is appreciated laziness, as is the fact that the entire bookie subplot is left wholly unresolved. In between the episodes of Milo and Nicole's respective pursuing hoodlums botching up affairs, there are the scenes re-establishing the heroes' contempt for each other. Milo throws Nicole in the trunk. Nicole uses a stun gun on him. Milo handcuffs her to the bed. Nicole fakes seducing him to get his gun. Milo calls her on it, and Nicole gives a knowing smile to the camera.

Yes, he's a lug, but he used to be her lug. She cries after spotting a sign of the bed and breakfast where they spent their honeymoon, and when they need to get off the road, they just happen to be right by the place. Insert scene of honesty and openness that surprises each of them, and then find a way to ensure that nothing will come of it until the rest of the mess has been resolved. A couple of phone calls to her mom (Christine Baranski) and his boss (Jeff Garland) seal that end of the requirements.

The Bounty Hunter goes on and on as such, milking its subplots for as much disruption as it can muster. All of this just to reach an ending everyone knows is preordained from the opening minutes.

Copyright © 2010 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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