Review: The Bounty Hunter (2010)

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The Bounty Hunter (2010)

Directed by: Andy Tennant | 106 minutes | action, comedy, romance | Actors: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski, Natalie Morales, Jason Sudeikis, Siobhan Fallon, Cathy Moriarty, Peter Greene, Liam Ferguson, Daisy Tahan, Ruby Feliciano, Dorian Missick, Adam Rose, Frank Apollonio, Peter Conboy, Joel Garland, Eric Zuckerman, Kevin Cannon, Jason Kolotouros, Reyna de Courcy, Bob Kaplan, Frosty Lawson, Robert Feeley, Joe Zarriello

Truly successful romantic comedies are rare. A first and fairly important threshold for filmmakers within this genre. In the last few decades, only ‘Groundhog Day’ has really come to the fore, and maybe you can count ‘Shakespeare in Love’. In addition, Woody Allen has its own playing field, but no good matches have been played there for a long time either. The reason why the rom-com continues to make an unprecedented contribution to the annual film production therefore has an increasingly strong commercial aspect. Movies in this genre don’t have to be good. As long as the star couple on the bill is sufficiently bankable, the director, plot and further cast become secondary to keep costs low and you still have a solid return. At least that’s the formula.

If you’re lucky, it’ll be accompanied by some strong jokes (often from the supporting cast), an entertaining story, and an upbeat soundtrack. However, ‘The Bounty Hunter’ is neither a high flyer nor successful in-between entertainment and thus falls outside the above categories. All parts that are supposed to provide the filming pleasure within that standard formula are absent. In the first place, there is zero chemistry between Aniston and Butler, one comedic supporting role is even more retarded than the other by the hair. Now the latter is often the case with the predictable plots of the genre, but the developments here are so standard that you can fill in the entire film based on the title and premise. Any comic distraction or original find is therefore nowhere to be found. Not in the bumbling introduction, not in the predictable middle, not in the hackneyed ending and certainly not in the messy and absurd storylines that run off the main theme. While director Andy Tennant in the past regularly managed to raise contributions to the genre somewhat above average (‘Anna and the King’, ‘Hitch’), this production seems to have run out of cake for a while. Even the supporting soundtrack features ill-used, temporary pop hits (Kesha, for example) and songs that distract you from the story because you have to ask whose idea it was to assist this ridiculous scene with this song.

The most glaring flaw, however, is the injustice done to Aniston and Butler. Both have proven to be much better, in various genres, but here the plot and the supporting cast fall short, making their interaction only irritating in the end. But a greater injustice actually falls on the viewer’s plate. After all, a nearly two-hour comedy where there’s no laughter to be found is just plain boring. Especially because those same two hours you have to watch an incessant series of unsuccessful attempts by the actors and the story. How the creators get that fans of the genre are still waiting for golf carts driving in ponds, stalking losers chasing the female lead and stereotypical Disney-esque bad guys is really the only joke of the film.

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