TITLE: “Bount”iful Aniston
Jennifer Aniston (Bruce Almighty, The Good Girl & TV’s Friends) is one of Hollywood’s most striking and attractive stars (ask the “People” magazine polls). Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth, Reign Of Fire & Gamer) is no slouch himself (ask the “In Style” magazine polls); and thanks to films like 2006’s “300,” and 2007’s “PS I Love You,” has jettisoned his name into the mainstream as a viable actor and a love interest. It almost seems like a no brainer to put these two actors together in a romantic comedy. One of America’s new movie hunks, a seasoned beauty — throw in some car chases, bullets flying and you’d think it was lightning in a bottle, box office gold. Unfortunately for Aniston & Butler, their new romantic comedy “The Bounty Hunter” opening this weekend, may fail to even bring in the bronze.
The film follows Nicole Hurley (Aniston) a thriving NYC divorcee ‘beat’ reporter who has just stumbled on to what could be the biggest story of her career and Milo Hurley (Butler), Nicole’s ex-husband, a fired cop turned bounty hunter who gets the assignment to bring his bail-jumping ex-wife back to face the music.
Why exactly Nicole jumped bail, and what she was originally arrested for becomes less of a concern as you watch this film. What becomes glaringly obvious is the usage of Aniston as ‘eye-candy’. Even watching her run in three inch Jimmy Choo’s during a botched escape attempt from her wily ex-husband is less funny and entertaining as how blatant the intentional close-ups and body-shots of her are throughout the film. You begin to realize that her looks are being used to disguise the films sub-par plot and wildly predictable storyline. Butler’s character is never given a chance to hold his own from the looks department and he’s reduced to the stereotypical ex-husband; a loaf, buffoonish child as exampled by Nicole & Milo’s odds defying craps attempt to turn $500 into $10,000. Butler’s acting chops do shine through during a point in the film where his character draws into a string of emotions around the prospect of re-entering his ex-wife’s life, and bringing it crashing down when he arrests her. The chemistry between Butler & Aniston is not given a chance behind the film’s thin writing. They look good together and the relationship is even believable but their eventual on screen re-connection seems more like an inevitability of the nearly 2 hour film and less about their romantic missteps during the two-state run to bring Nicole back to justice.
The film does have a saving grace in its’ supporting cast. Stuart (Jason Sudeikis of SNL fame), Nicole’s co-worker, is a lovelorn fool who’s feelings for Nicole border on stalking. His attempts to solicit her affection, and profess his own, do offer some good laughs. Nicole’s mother (Christine Baranski: Bulworth & Chicago), portrays aging Atlantic City headliner, Kitty Hurley. Baranski has made a career of portraying ‘rich bitch’ characters, but this time she manages to do it with heart. It’s refreshing to see her as something more than just a boozing socialite; albeit this time a boozing starlet. You can feel a true mother-daughter relationship between Kitty & Nicole, and Baranski uses every inch of the films’ sad screenplay to convey their connection.
In the end, “The Bounty Hunter” is nothing more than a Jennifer Aniston puff piece. Like Megan Fox’s role in Transformers (2007), Aniston’s looks over-power the film. The audience becomes more focused on her clothes, body and hair than on trying to believe that this hapless mis-adventure could somehow bring this couple back to reconciliation. Director Andy Tennant (Hitch, Fools Rush In) has done much better for himself in the past. With a dynamite looking duo like Aniston & Butler, you would think he could make something more enjoyable play out on screen.
The Bounty Hunter is rated PG-13 for sexually suggestive content, language and some violence.
Submitted by reader Rock Y.