The Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter

Directed by Andy Tennant. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Gio Perez, Jason Sudeikis. (2010, PG-13, 110 min.)

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 26, 2010

Strictly by-the-numbers, cookie-cutter, Hollywood production-line crap barely worthy of a legitimate theatrical release, The Bounty Hunter is another rusty nail in the coffin that was the career of talented and sunshiny former-Friend Aniston. Butler, for his part, hasn't as much to lose as Aniston does, but still. You can only show your washboard abs so many times before somebody starts doing their laundry on them. Penned by Sarah Thorp, who, having previously written the Philip Kaufman thriller Twisted, should know better, the bounty hunter of the title is Butler's Milo, a hard-drinking, fisticuffs-loving lout of a man torn asunder from within by a painful divorce from his journalist go-getter of an ex-wife, Nicole (Aniston). When Nicole fails to show up in court for a minor traffic infraction (because she's on a hotter-than-molten-lead-type lead, naturally), a warrant is issued for her arrest and Milo, deep in debt to some very nasty people (thanks to his penchant for gambling), is sent joyfully after her. There's plenty of screwball comedy to be wrung from such an obvious plot device, but director Tennant (Hitch) seems more concerned with doing things by the book, unlike his male protagonist, who breaks every rule in the book as he gleefully tracks down and then hauls in his peevish and understandably irritated ex. The Bounty Hunter seems to exist only as a vehicle to remind us that, yes, modestly budgeted romantic comedies featuring glass-ceiling-breaking princesses and musclebound oafs still have a place in the modern CGI-movie era; the problem here is that Butler's Neanderthal makes Fred Flintstone seem like Cary Grant in His Gal Friday.

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