Film Reviews

The Bounty Hunter Embraces Every Stereotype to Sell Pre-packaged Romance

You've followed their packaged romance in the supermarket checkout line — now see the movie.

Jennifer Aniston's hair plays a New York Daily News crime reporter who stumbles onto corruption at the precinct house. Gerard Butler's scowl plays her ex, a former policeman now working as a bounty hunter. For reasons that don't matter, she misses a court date, and he pursues her—for the $5,000 reward, he says, not love — to Atlantic City. Also in pursuit are a dirty cop, a couple of thugs dispatched by Butler's bookie, and Aniston's colleague (Jason Sudeikis), who's got a crush on her, plus an even deeper love for pastel V-neck sweater vests.

Produced by the team behind Sweet Home Alabama, The Bounty Hunter embraces every stereotype about bickering, mismatched couples: He's the slovenly lout with a bruised heart; she's the Type A career woman, wearing the skimpiest outfit and highest heels in the newsroom — yet something's missing her life. That he has to arrest her for them to confront their feelings isn't a bad screwball premise, but the script has all the spunk of Ikea-bookcase assembly instructions. The Bounty Hunter is a no less flimsy a product (though if you removed the two stars—with zero chemistry between them—matters would be greatly improved.

Besides Sudeikis, there are small, enjoyable bits from Jeff Garlin, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Christine Baranski. On the soundtrack, Jerry Reed sings "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)." Viewers will know exactly the same feeling.

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Brian Miller
Contact: Brian Miller