Makes you yearn for the action nuances of Michael Bay
If you need a director for a middling romantic comedy, apparently Andy Tennant is your guy in Hollywood. The auteur behind Fools Rush In, Fool’s Gold, Hitch and Sweet Home Alabama (amongst others) seems to have cornered the market on bad romantic comedies starring photogenic stars that must’ve signed on before reading a script. That seems to be the case as well in The Bounty Hunter.
Milo (Gerard Butler) is a former cop, thrown off the force due to his gambling and drinking and now makes a living as a bounty hunter. Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) is a crime reporter onto perhaps the biggest story of her career. Formerly married, their lives cross once again when Nicole jumps bail and Milo is the man to bring her in. Things get complicated, however, when Milo decides to help her out on the story (which involves police corruption).
The problem is that the film doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be. Styled as a romantic comedy in an action comedy genre film, Tennant is going for a Midnight Run meets War of the Roses type of feel. The film moves from action sequence to action sequence pretty fluidly, not stopping often to develop much in terms of character or plot. If this were a straight action film it would be allowable, but Tennant is also trying to incorporate a romantic comedy undercurrent into the proceedings as well. The rom-com lives (and dies) based off of characters and plot arcs, something he’s done many times before, and yet the film eschews any sort of romance for more action sequences.
Tennant shows much more competency in this department then this month’s other dramatic director in an action film (Kevin Smith’s Cop Out) as The Bounty Hunter has good action sequences that flow from one another. Car chases and shoot-outs all at least make sense and there’s some fun involved; Tennant has gotten good genre performances out of his stars, which is the sole reason the film is tolerable for its near two hour running time.
Aniston and Butler have tremendous chemistry with one another in the film, and in a film that had much more going for it they could be the next Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas kind of couple in romantic comedies that work so well with one another that you want to see again. Butler, in another role as a pig-headed alpha male (following last year’s The Ugly Truth), is in another role where he gets to riff off an uptight woman playing the straight man in a comedic duo. Much like this year’s little seen romantic comedy Leap Year, there’s more delight in seeing the pair fight and hate each other as opposed to being a couple in love. Aniston, a first rate comedic actress, doesn’t get much to work with but her chemistry with Butler elevates sub-par material beyond what it ought to be.
There’s a moment in The Bounty Hunter when Milo and Nicole are discussing the mistakes of their lives. Upon discussing their divorce there’s a moment when there’s a moment we get to share with them as they both reveal (without really saying it) that they both regret it and remember why they got together in the first place. It’s a tender moment; the kind great movies have in them where actors bring out things in the character they play that make you bond with them. Unfortunately the rest of the film is a poor man’s version of Fool’s Gold.
Director: Andy Tennant Notable Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Rose, Christine Baranski, Dorian Missick, Peter Greene Writer(s): Sarah Thorp
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.