The Bounty Hunter
dir Andy Tennant
scr Sarah Thorp
prd Neal H Moritz
with Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Christine Baranski, Jason Sudeikis, Peter Greene, Jeff Garlin, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Cathy Moriarty, Adam Rose, Ritchie Coster, Joel Marsh Garland, Carol Kane
release UK 17.Mar.10, US 19.Mar.10
10/US Columbia 1h50
The Bounty Hunter
Hot pursuit: Aniston and Butler

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R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Bounty Hunter Aniston and Butler mysteriously rustle up just enough chemistry in this simplistic rom-com to make it enjoyable. We never really like their characters, but some of the film's contrived situations are genuinely funny.

Nicole (Aniston) is a New York journalist who's so busy with a breaking story that she neglects to turn up for a court date and ends up on the bail-jumper list of bounty hunter Milo (Butler), her ex-husband. Their stormy marriage didn't last long, and Milo is happy for the chance to get some revenge. But he's being chased by the goons (Coster and Garland) of an Atlantic City loan shark (Moriarty). Meanwhile, Nicole also has a lovelorn colleague (Sudeikis) and a vicious henchman (Greene) after her.

There's nothing remotely original or unpredictable about the plot, and Tennant's direction only has the hint of a spark to it. Despite the action mayhem, Aniston and Butler barely break a sweat in these roles, although each manages to inject just enough edgy humour into the character to make it watchable. Much of this is due to Aniston's ease with comedy and Butler's proficiency with action, and both show a rather alarming gift for appearing smug and arrogant on screen. Which is also why we never sympathise with them.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast is packed with scene-stealers like Sudeikis, Hogan, Garlin and the diva-goddess Baranski. All of them, and others, ham it up for all it's worth, and wring a few more laughs here and there. It helps that Tennant keeps things moving briskly enough that we never get a chance to ponder the narrative potholes and contrivances. But then, this isn't the kind of genre we ever believe anyway.

In other words, this is one of those deliberately silly movies that never pretends to be good. It may try to wrestle a few tears out of our eyes with shamelessly corny sentiment while making a simplistic point about true love, but it always moves swiftly on to something sassy or cute. And it at least remembers that both Nicole and Milo are ambitious, cocky career people who don't really care about anyone else around them. So of course they're perfect for each other.

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 10.Mar.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall