The Bounty Hunter review ?

To begin with, I’d like to clarify why I gave this film only a single star instead of a more merciful two. It’s not because it’s really appalling, because I’ve seen worse, but this is what I’m going to call a protest star. I’ve decided to take a stand over the quality of the romantic comedies being made these days, and here it is.

The rom-com is a genre that, when done well, can induce all sorts of fuzzy feelings, even in the most cold hearted of audiences. Yet recently, it seems the chick-flicks are just being rattled off one by one at high speed from the Hollywood production line, each virtually indistinguishable from the last, and almost always unmemorable.

The latest off the carousel is this action rom-com following Milo Boyd (Butler), a cop-turned-bounty hunter who is rejoicing in the fact that he’s been given the job of tracking down bail-skipping felon and top reporter Nicole Hurly (Aniston). And the reason he’s rejoicing? Because the pair just happen to be acrimoniously divorced. The secondary plot involves a bent cop, an unexplained suicide and some other stuff, and what follows is your usual contrived fare; handcuffing to beds, golf carts crashing into lakes and some flat-falling jokes.

Still recovering from the monstrosity that was Valentine’s Day, this was hard to take. Everything about The Bounty Hunter is depressingly familiar, and not just because I’d seen the on-set photos in the papers a few months ago. It’s because it is just plainly unoriginal, right down to Aniston’s appearance (I think there may be a clause in her contract that prohibits hair and make-up from altering her usual style and insisting that she is able to wear her own clothes). OK, the two leads have a reasonable amount of chemistry, but neither the camera nor the plot stand still long enough for us to witness it.

For a film of this genre to shine it’s got to have a feeling of romanticism throughout, not just a "romantic" relationship, and this has to be balanced with some actual comedy or the film feels shallow, and quite frankly soulless (the last one that demonstrated the perfect formula, I think, was Ghost Town). Most of the time it’s like the scripts are being dismissed and receiving the bare minimum effort, while the primary audience (women!) is assumed to be easily pleased and/or stupid. The commissioning of these films needs to be re-addressed because this genre deserves as much care, and should be demanding as much credibility, as any other. Rant over.     

Official Site
The Bounty Hunter at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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