‘THE BOUNTY HUNTER’ IS A BOMB

What do George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston have in common?

It’s a simple question with an even simpler answer. They both play every role on the big screen the same why they played their characters on “ER” and “Friends” respectively. Clooney will be portraying Dr. Doug Ross until the day he dies, and Aniston is likewise inextricably wedded to the character of Rachel Green forever.

Clooney recently reinvented Dr. Ross in highly overrated “Up in the Air,” and now Aniston has dusted off Rachel to call her Nicole Hurley in “The Bounty Hunter,” an abysmally lackluster comedy also starring Gerard Butler. Although the film season still is in its infancy, this movie already has secured a firm place on the dreaded list of the year’s worst films.

Milo Boyd (Butler) is a former cop who lost his job because of negligence, and now he makes his money bringing in people who have jumped bail. His life as a bounty hunter is not a lucrative one, but he is getting by, and he also has been through a nasty divorce.

Milo’s ex-wife is Nicole (Aniston), an ambitious reporter who will do just about anything for a story. As the film begins, she is working on a potential scoop involving a possible suicide and/or murder. She is so intent on following a lead that she skips a court date for her own hearing and thus becomes a felon.

Now it just so happens that the bondsman involved is Milo’s boss, and he  offers to pay Milo $5,000 to bring Nicole in. Naturally Milo jumps at the chance to make this much money, and the fact that he has to arrest his ex-wife makes the assignment that much sweeter. What follows is the painfully humorless, dreadfully dull, and insufferably boring story of Milo’s attempt to take Nicole to jail.

In selecting which film to view for this blog, I had to choose among this one, “Repo Men,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Which one would you have picked? It wasn’t a difficult choice for me because I’m not too big on either science-fiction films or movies about junior high school students. But I can’t imagine that either of those that I didn’t watch could be any worse than the one I did.

As anyone with a brain knows, the major requirement for a successful comedy is that it should be funny. “The Bounty Hunter” is completely devoid of humor. I don’t even remember smiling during the film, and the theater was deathly silent throughout most of the movie, and so apparently the others in the audience found the film to be as much of a dud as I did.

Another necessity for an effective comedy is a good chemistry between its two stars. If you want to see what I mean by this, watch “When Harry Met Sally…” because Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have the kind of chemistry that Butler and Aniston are sadly lacking. They aren’t convincing when they are attempting to convey their respective characters’ dislike for each other, and they fail even more miserably when they try to ignite a romantic spark between the two of them. Of course, some of this wasn’t the fault either Aniston or Butler because a first grader could have written the dialogue for the movie.

At one point, Milo finds Nicole at a racetrack, and the following conversation ensues.

Nicole: “Hi, Milo.”

Milo: “Fancy meeting you here.”

Nicole: “Yeah. Fancy.”

Stimulating, isn’t it? And here’s another pearl from this pathetic script. When Milo is talking to Nicole’s mother, played by Christine Baranski, here’s the way the mother describes her daughter: “She may be a strong, independent woman on the outside. But inside she’s just a girl who wants to be loved by her man.”

Oh the profundity there!

In addition to missing the mark as a comedy, the film also fails as an adventure/mystery. Although the main plot involves Milo’s attempt to capture Nicole, a subplot involves the mystery of the story on which she’s working. It’s supposed to be a mystery, but it is so muddled that it flops badly.

The only thing the filmmakers accomplished in this movie is the obvious exploitation of Aniston’s legs and cleavage. With the exception of one brief costume change, Aniston prances around in a low-cut, skin-tight mini-dress that leaves little to the imagination. There certainly isn’t anything wrong this because Aniston is a beautiful woman, but when the film has nothing more than this to recommend it, not many people are going to want to lay out the money to watch it.

If you decide to see “The Bounty Hunter” (Give it a score of 3.), take my advice and go to a matinee so that you don’t have to pay the full price of admission. Anyone who pays the full price to sit through this bomb will definitely regret it. Indeed the thought of having to endure another showing of this film would be enough to make me jump bail.

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