I Wanted More Handcuffs

Movie Title: The Bounty Hunter (2010)
Spoilers: No


Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston star in The Bounty Hunter. Milo Boyd is a small-time bounty hunter and ex-cop with not much going for him. Nicole Hurley is an accomplished newspaper reporter who puts her career first. Everything is going well for her, right up until bad driving puts her in trouble with the law. Jumping bail, Boyd is selected to bring Nicole in when he accepts a by-chance assignment. None of this would be fascinating were it not for the fact that Nicole is Boyd's ex-wife! 

Aside from a potentially workable plotline (more on that in a moment) and some sprightly music choices, The Bounty Hunter offers no one anything they really want to see, least of all passion or chemistry or romance...you know, the things that matter most in romance movies.

The divorced can appreciate the film's serrated quality of hostile small talk between Boyd and Hurley. This film has some mean put-downs and is relentless with enough inside verbal stabs to be respected by every bachelor who still has an apartment in his own name.

Aniston is cute (she looks even cuter in handcuffs). Sadly, a tanned and toned body will not be of help here, not when you consider how much (and how often) you are compelled to watch people who think they're slick on camera when they aren’t. 

An un-energized Butler looks like he has ever since the beginning of the post-Leonidas days—like an out-of-work contractor who's been asleep and just woke up before filming. Extra points for the bulging biceps, but like Who's Line is It Anyway?, the points don't matter. Neither Butler, nor Aniston can bail this one out.

How many bad Gerard Butler movies will we be subjected to? That nobody knows. What we do know is that we can only deal with one failed movie per year about a hot girl who works for a newspaper and is a hard sell on the man market. We had 2009's monstrosity All About Steve filling that spot. Now, the 2010 slot is taken. A few steps above All About Steve is The Bounty Hunter.

The plot doesn't take itself seriously enough for you to consider doing so. And you shouldn't have to look too hard to find a plot's respect for itself. Why would you when you are only watching for some expected romantic grind and make-up leading to a piquant exchange of passion? It has the grind. By itself, that works about as well as a one-handed clap.

Humor? Think again. The Bounty Hunter isn't funny. The doltish ending can only be appreciated by the cinematically brain-dead, and everything getting to it is an exercise in endurance with an unlikable and impoverished story.

I said earlier that the plotline is potentially workable. I stand behind that admission. There is sense in trying to throw some romantic glitter on the under-portrayed life of a rugged, ragged, sexy bounty hunter. I'm game, but not without the heavy use of handcuffs, duck tape, ball gags, and leg irons. Strip searches and cages are a must, as are full-body restraint tables, and at least one burly female jailer whose specialty is frisking. But I'm guessing Aniston won't be game for that. Our loss.



Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: PG-13 (suggestive language, sexual scenes, and light violence)
Director: Andy Tennant
Summary: A bounty hunter learns that his next assignment is to bring in his ex-wife.
Starring: Jennifer Aniston "Nicole Hurley," Gerard Butler "Milo Boyd," Gio Perez "Uncle Sam," Joel Garland "Dwight (as Joel Marsh Garland)," Jason Kolotouros "Gelman," Matt Malloy "Gary," Jason Sudeikis "Stewart"
Genre: Action / Comedy / Romance