There's a certain level of detachment when it comes to big-studio productions. To me, it's the same type of detachment when someone takes over as U.S. President; unemployment virtually doubles, and the response is "Well, it could be worse. In fact, it's getting better!" That same type of thinking is what leads studios to continue to trot Jennifer Aniston out in big-budget romantic comedies with the premise that they're fresh and new. In these films, the include copious beefcake shots of the male actor of the month just to show you how hip they are! But if it looks like a turd and smells like a turd, chances are...
Which brings me to The Bounty Hunter. Written by Sarah Thorp (Twisted) and directed by Andy Tennant (Fool's Gold), Aniston plays Nicole, a reporter with the New York Daily News who is hot on the heels of a story that might involve corrupt police. However, her zeal to get the story makes her forget an important court date, and the resulting failure to appear leads to a bench warrant. This is where her ex-husband comes into play.
Milo (Gerard Butler, Law Abiding Citizen) is a former cop turned bounty hunter, and is tasked with the responsibility of bringing his ex-wife to jail. The hilarity, right? But both refuse to learn more about each other's situation, which involves people chasing both of them, so they're both on the run. Think Midnight Run, with prettier people and crappier acting.
Perhaps more alarmingly is the film's runtime, which, with the Bounty Hunter's pacing, feels glacially slow. It's like most of the actors with significant speaking roles had to take an extra beat or two, or a musical sequence stuck around for one verse too many. Consider the initial chase of Nicole by Milo, set to the Rolling Stones' "Hang Fire." It's a relatively short song yet you hear most of it in this sequence. This continues throughout the film. I'd forgive it if the sequences, or anything else in the film for that matter, were, you know, funny.
What of what could have been an eclectic and potentially decent supporting cast includes Christine Baranski (Mamma Mia!), Jeff Garlin (Wall-E)and Jason Sudeikis (Semi-Pro)? They have a moment or two that makes you smile, and Baranski is even decent, but through the number of familiar faces, there weren't any moments where I showed my teeth or enjoyed myself. There was 110 minutes of no laughs, some scenes that came close to possessing chemistry between the leads, and the rest was as tedious as I expected.
Why did I expect The Bounty Hunter to be tedious, you ask? When I saw the trailer, I thought it was boring, desperate, and unfunny. Now that I've seen the film, it met the expectations I had after seeing two unfunny minutes of it months ago. This mirrors some dialogue in the film when Aniston's character says of a situation that it may not be what it looks like, and Butler's character responds by saying that it's ALWAYS what it looks like. If it looks bad, it is bad, so stop shoving this down our throats, Hollywood! Stop spending time and money on things like this.
The Blu-ray Disc:
The Bounty Hunter is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen in all its high-definition glory with the MPEG-4 codec. The film looks good on some of the exterior shots, and detail in those shots is solid, though tends to be inconsistent in the latter half of the film. Background depth is good; however, the outdoor shots lack a multidimensional feel. Flesh tones are reproduced accurately and without concern. All in all, it's a workmanlike presentation.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track is very peppy for this rom-com, in part because of the nominal action sequences in the film. A car chase with Nicole, Milo and someone chasing them includes subwoofer activity when an Escalade flips and overturns, and there is surprising clarity from gunshots traded between the vehicles. In another shot when Milo is running through a golfing range, the golf balls whiz by through all of the channels with effectiveness and immersion. Even the dialogue sounds strong and consistent in the center channel. Columbia/Sony continue their good work on recent releases, even if the releases are popular afterthoughts.
By the numbers for supplements here. "Making The Bounty Hunter" (17:42) has thoughts on the story from its stars and crew where they discuss why they decided to make this thing. The cast and crew talk about each also as well, like how Tennant works a set and everyone's thoughts on Aniston and Butler. Nothing too new or imaginative. Next is "Stops Along the Road" (11:21), which examines the film's shooting in Atlantic City and in (and around) the New York area. This finds the crew generally (and justifiably) patting themselves on the back for shooting in so many locations in the area, while "Rules for Outwitting a Bounty Hunter" (1:21) uses what's in the movie as a fake commercial of sorts for the disc. Trailers for The Back-Up Plan, Chloe, Get Low, The Runaways, Nine, Extraordinary Measures and Dear John are next, and the disc is BD-Live enabled and has the Movie-IQ subtitled function, if you want to experience the full dysfunction of the film. A second disc houses a digital copy of the film, assuming you feel like corrupting your portable MP3 device (or computer) with something like this.
The Bounty Hunter is humorless, emotionless and free of much creative or original thought. Ladies if you want to see Gerard Butler without a shirt, turn on 300 and drool. Anyone who wants to see an uninspired Jennifer Aniston performance can turn on, well, any episode of Friends. It looks and sounds pretty, but if it's got a pretty face and no brain, it's not for me, and shouldn't be for anyone else.