Gerard Butler plays Milo Boyd, an ex-cop turned unwashed, unshaven bounty hunter who gambles and drinks too much. He"s also ex-husband to intrepid girl reporter Nicole Hurley (Jennifer Aniston). At the start of the film, she"s investigating a mysterious suicide for a story in the New York Daily News but is held up by a pesky court date for a traffic accident. When her source contacts her needing to meet immediately, she skips out on her trial, and a bench warrant is issued for her arrest.
Naturally, Milo"s boss is the bondsman who posted her initial bail, and Milo is the bounty hunter sent to collect her. The prospect fills him with uninhibited glee, an unexplained emotion that Butler plays strangely. He giggles and bounces, tracks mud through her apartment and eats Doritos in her bed. Milo must eventually track Nicole to Atlantic City, where her mother, Kitty (Christine Baranski), is a headlining lounge singer. While he"s looking for her, all sorts of seedy types are searching for both of them. There"s a crooked cop (Peter Green) out to kill Nicole before she can discover any more about the “suicide"; a bookie (Cathy Moriarty) who"s sent a couple of her goons to break Milo"s kneecaps for his outstanding debt; and a hapless girly-man in a lavender polo shirt (Jason Sudeikis) who"s in love with Nicole after a drunken office-party makeout session.
Movies like this should get in and out in 90 minutes. But here we"ve got 111 laugh-free minutes to kill, meaning lots of story to tell and eccentric supporting roles to service. But the character interaction, the story trajectory, the subplots and the chase scenes, none of them carry any weight. Stuff happens but is forgotten by the next edit. Nothing sticks. Director Andy Tennant (Hitch) does assemble some talented stock players, but they all drop from the sky, exit just as quickly and never feel part of the show. The heavy-handed soundtrack does make an attempt to get us through the ordeal. It plays constantly–I can"t recall a single moment of action or dialogue that isn"t underscored–and acts like a sitcom laugh track, cluing us into what"s supposed to be funny.
Butler"s character is a booze-loving, gambling big lump of an ex-cop and he doesn"t offer too much more in his performance, but Aniston makes up for it. Her performance as a feisty, but funny leading lady is great.
The Bounty Hunter is a romantic comedy thriller lacking in romance, humor, or intrigue. At best avoid!
Rating: 1.5 out of 5*
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski, Jason Sudeikis and Peter Green
Director: Andy Tennant