The latest romcom vehicle for Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler sees the pair as a divorced couple whose lives took different turns following their separation. Nicole’s (Aniston) career as a reporter went from strength to strength, whereas Milo lost his job as a detective and is now plying his trade as a bounty hunter, using his paycheque to live in a booze-soaked haze.
When the opportunity presents itself for him to track down his former partner – who jumped bail to follow a lead – and to take her to jail for a sizeable reward, he leaps at the chance. Little does he know that the lead Nicole was following was regarding a murder cover-up and he soon finds that their lives are in danger.
From romcoms you expect there to be some kind of chemistry between the leads and preferably some laughs. Sadly, there’s a distinct lack of laughs and zero chemistry on display here. At no point during the film is it believable on any level that Aniston or Butler were ever a couple. From watching this I don’t think it’s the fault of either of them. The script doesn’t service their talents and much of their dialogue is there for the sole purpose of driving the predictable and cliché ridden plot. Regardless of your opinions of them, both have their audiences and both have been in some genuinely good films, which makes this waste of talent particularly irksome.
It’s not as though it’s an offensively bad film in the same way that something like the The Ugly Truth is. It just fails to live up to the standards of the genre it’s part of.
There are recent films that have similar plot points and premises, but are far more successful than what’s seen here. For bickering couple reconciling differences in unforeseen circumstances see Did You Hear About The Morgans? and for a couple caught on the run with their lives at stake from shady antagonists see Date Night. Neither Date Night nor Did You Hear About The Morgans? are perfect films, by any means, but both display far more wit and charm than The Bounty Hunter.
Jeff Garlin is far and away the best thing about the film, and when he made an appearance I thought things were picking up, but he’s in the film for less than five minutes. Very disappointing. It would be understandable if the other supporting characters were as interesting or funny, but that’s simply not the case. Jason Sudeikis’ Stewart character can essentially be boiled down to ‘Ha ha ha. Aren’t stalkers funny!’
There’s some lecherous camera work that lingers on Aniston like its shot from the perspective of a teenage boy. There are far better ways of putting across the desirableness of your lead than ogling her with the camera at every opportunity. Is this what the target demographic of the film really wants to see?
The material is stretched to breaking point during its 110 minute run time with many subplots detracting from the plot rather than adding to it. They’re clearly there for comedic effect, but the aforementioned lack of laughs makes them superfluous to requirements.
Many of the set pieces seem repetitive, and with stricter editing, the film could have been far more effective.
Ultimately, The Bounty Hunter is a below average romcom that I wouldn’t recommend to even fans of the genre. There are far better films around that are much more worthy of audiences’ time and attention, especially as the trailers pretty much gave away most of the film.
Still, the film took a boatload of money earning three times its budget, so there’s clearly a sizeable audience for this kind of film. It’s just a shame that the audience wasn’t rewarded with better material.
Neither the picture nor the audio quality are particularly fantastic and wouldn’t justify the uplift in price between DVD and Blu-ray, especially as the only exclusive to the format is an option for Movie IQ mode, which should give fans of the film and its leads some snippets of information.
The picture quality features a few noticeable faults throughout the film, but, at times, is passable. The sound is a bit deceptive as it lists DTS-HD 5.1, but, for the most part, it’s not particularly well utilised, with only a couple scenes making full use of the technology.
Looking at the extras in anticipation (of sorts) of reviewing this disc, it looked pretty standard until I saw a feature titled Rules For Outwitting A Bounty Hunter and thought that it could be pretty cool. How wrong I was! At a little over a minute long, it provides a recap of the evasion tactics seen in the film delivered in a smug and irritating manner.
Other extras include a ‘making of’ documentary and Stops Along The Road, both of which are as by the numbers as I had anticipated. Even those who love the film would, no doubt, find these extras a little dull.
The Bounty Hunteris out now on Blu-ray and available from the Den Of Geek Store.