After weeks and weeks of sordid speculation by all major celebrity glossies, gossipists the world over can now contain themselves with the knowledge that any steamy romance between Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston was either non existent or just not at all hot. I say this to you now in review of the couple’s efforts in their new film The Bounty Hunter, the latest rom-com to fall off the Hollywood production line and be shot into the air by marketing cannons that promised hilarity and hot action. Unfortunately for Aniston and Butler, their onscreen chemistry together is about as romantically inciting and as charismatic as the last two slices of white bread, falling over each other at the bottom of the plastic bag – stale, tasteless and definitely worse for you than it looks. On first thought, their star power seems like a big enough draw-card for a trip to the movies but proves to be the only bankable aspect of this production.
The plot unfolds like a candy wrapper with no sweet inside, as Butler takes on the role of an ex-cop turned bounty hunter, with a gambling addiction and a crazy ex-wife, named Milo Boyd. Aniston is Nicole Hurley, an investigative reporter on the hunt for story details – the most important thing in the world – meaning she defies a court summons and is resultantly pursued by her aforementioned bounty hunter ex-husband. Coincidentally, the audience are expected to believe these developments whilst ignoring any concept of characterization for the two; his dignity is ignored by virtue of plot holes that never fill in why or how he handed in his badge, accrued a gambling debt and lost his wife. Nicole Hurley is, on the same wave, as underdeveloped. Playing a physical personification of a walking and whining piece of steak, happy-go-lucky Rachel from Friends is now so muscular and unnaturally brown she should have been cast in Antz, although she still has the same haircut. They each try to out-do the other in order to fulfill their individual desires but resolve to realize they somehow belong together, a conclusion lost on their audience.
Butler hauls on thorough this story as an all-American type, despite growls of his Scottish accent annoyingly poking through his Alpha Yank façade. If this film is to be written AND sold as a Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston flick, then the principal mistake here is to have him play himself with a bonus uncomfortable accent. Especially when Butler’s previous success built from his “sexy” Scottish appeal, think P.S I Love You, parallel to the American-Quarterback-gun slinging hero overused in Hollywood, evident here.
Director Andy Tennant has hit previous high notes with sweet movies such as Fools Rush In, Ever After and Sweet Home Alabama. His film Hitch made us all laugh at Will Smith again, and his direction in Fools’ Gold ensured familiarity with a well framed, shirtless Matthew McConaughey at every chance. Here you can see he is working for the money, as there is absolutely nothing that would set this film apart from being just another second rate, direct-to-DVD if it were not for the names Butler and Aniston attached. There is not even a title song worth remembering. Mention goes to SNL’s Jason Sudeikis who supports humorously as the pathetic and overweight co-worker in love with but not good enough for Nicole. This will only annoy any 30Rock fans out there who know him as Liz Lemon’s one time perfect lover. Christine Baranski plays Nicole’s casino dancing mother Kitty, who should have been named Mutton. Funniest scene involves Aniston crashing a golf cart into a pond, because for just a second, it seems they will not resurface. For a version of the same thing that is ten thousand times better, see Tarantino’s 1997 adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s book Rum Punch, called Jackie Brown.
Your parents might like it just because Gerard and Jennifer are unlikely to appeal to younger audiences…but I doubt it.