Like most failed chick flicks, The Bounty Hunter is trying to juggle way more than it’s capable of. Amidst the central relationship between Nicole and Milo, there are peripheral goings-on that really doom the movie right from the start. Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) is a reporter investigating a suspicious murder within the New York City Police Department. She herself was recently arrested, but we don’t find out exactly why until the last fifteen minutes of the movie. The “big reveal” isn’t worth it at all. It’s just like the rest of the movie. Lame, lame, lame.
Milo (Gerard Butler) is a former detective who was fired from the department and turned to bounty hunting. So he has a stake in uncovering that one of his best friends and ex-partner is innocent. He’s given the opportunity to track down his ex-wife and bring her in for a $5,000 reward, and jumps at the chance. A flimsy plot, yes, but it could have possibly worked on at least a mediocre level. But it never does. This is almost entirely because every single character (except for one) is severely unlikeable.
A lot of the blame should fall squarely on it’s two stars. Aniston is sleep inducing, almost comatose, for the entire movie. She, like most stars of the romantic comedy genre, is squarely in her comfort zone. Totally acceptable. Only her character is grating right from the beginning, and she only gets more so with each subsequent scene. Gerard Butler is no better. In fact, he’s significantly worse. I have no idea who thinks it’s a good idea to put this guy in these types of movies. He was absolutely horrific in The Ugly Truth, and he matches that terrible performance here. His “American” accent is so glaringly bad that it’s actually distracting. And, much like Nicole, Milo isn’t likeable. He’s a complete and utter douchebag. When you have two main characters so unlikeable, the movie is DOA. Couple that with Aniston and Butler’s complete lack of chemistry, the film is a dead duck.
There is only one character in the film that doesn’t suck, and that is Stuart (played by SNL’s Jason Sudeikis). He actually has some depth, and is the only character that wins any laughs. Where Butler’s lack of charisma destroys the movie, Sudeikis brings it in spades and steals every single scene he’s in. Unfortunately, that only amounts to about fifteen minutes of screen time. Even Jeff Garlin is annoying in his brief scenes. I typically like the affable Garlin, or I at least don’t mind what he does, but here he’s so paper thin (well, not exactly) that his “I do nothing but yell in a weird inflection” gets old right from the gun.
The plot is peppered with cliche after cliche. It’s painful to watch the script inch along tedious moment by tedious moment. There are probably three different movies going on within this one movie. The romantic comedy is just bad, but the mystery/action subplot is far worse. The biggest crime the romantic comedy portions do is miss time after time on jokes. The mystery/action subplot insults our intelligence. Plus, we aren’t exactly rooting for the chemistry-less Milo and Nicole to succeed.
Also, they missed the boat on a Dog the Bounty Hunter cameo. Major fail. That’s like making a movie called The Most Annoying Man on the Planet and not having at least one Ken Jeong cameo.
With brutal dialogue, lame characters, and a completely unoriginal script that tries to mix several genres and fails miserably. There are no fewer than two-thousand bland, uninspired chase scenes, and they get increasingly tedious as our patience wanes on our “journey” with these absolutely painful characters. It’s never interesting, creative, or worthwhile at any time. Someone should put a bounty on the screenwriter who penned this interminable dreck and get them the hell away from Hollywood.
Score: 1/10 (One point awarded only for Sudeikis)