I should have known better. I really should have. I suspect that deep down I did know better. There are some movies I look at and determine that they are either going to be bad or I genuinely don't have an interest in seeing them. I see the trailer for The Blind Side and think that it looks like a lot of other movies and does not look like something I would find interesting, I see trailers of Tyler Perry movies and have zero interest, the ad for the latest Date/Epic Movie and I know they will be bad and skip them. However there will always be those that I have a gut feeling about yet still get caught in their tractor beam. The Bounty Hunter is one of those movies.
With Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston in the starring roles I was sure it would be enjoyable enough. Aniston can be funny and definitely has good screen presence and Butler has his own brand of star power, although it has dampened in a string of romantic comedies. While neither one is known to be an acting powerhouse there is definitely enough between the two to carry a romantic comedy. This begs the question: what went wrong here?
The Bounty Hunter is a dull, laughless, lifeless affair that really was not necessary. Granted, the majority of films made are not necessary, but this pushes it to the next level. It is a romantic comedy with some action that is built out of all the cliches of the genre. At no point does it make any attempt to bust free of the cliche. There is no ambition in the screenplay by Sarah Thorp. It feels almost like she took a mad-lib of common genre cliches, filled in the blanks and let the studio take over. Quite frankly, I was bored with the whole thing and would have been just as happy to have taken a nap.
The concept goes like this: Milo (Butler) is a bounty hunter/ex-cop and he is tasked with bringing in Nicole (Aniston) who missed her court date and had a bench warrant issued. Yes, that's it. Doesn't sound like much, does it? To help fill some time there is the story that a suicide may be a murder and there may be a big drug deal going down involving police officers. Oh yes, there is also the trip to Atlantic City, some gangsters, corrupt cops, a quaint bed and breakfast, all added in to pad out the film.
Yes, those other things should be adding to the story, but frankly they are no help at all. This thing is so paint-by-numbers that I really don't want to talk about it anymore. The fun I was hoping to have disappeared in a matter of moments. The leads are wasted with a poor script and uninspired direction, the supporting cast try to ham it up as much as they can, and the story never develops at all.
For 106 minutes we are treated to a bickering ex-couple with no doubt they are going to end up back together. They are played by actors whose natural charisma struggles to shine through as they lack any perceivable chemistry. Director Andy Tennant struck gold with Hitch back in 2005, but is unable to find the same chemistry here. If I had to guess, and I don't, I would say this was a mercenary gig that most involved did for a paycheck. I cannot imagine anyone looking at this screenplay and thinking they had anything good.
Bottom line. Do yourself a favor, rent Hitch and have a better time at home. This film brings nothing but disappointment even to those with low expectations. Everyone involved is capable of much better work and the less said about this, the better.