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Borrowed time

Movies | Despite Butler and Aniston, Bounty Hunter falls flat

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

I have to assume that neither Jennifer Aniston nor Gerard Butler is hard up for work. After all, both are considered A-list performers with a number of box-office hits to their names. But there's little else to explain why the comely pair would have signed on to the script for Bounty Hunter, a romantic comedy/action-adventure hybrid that fails to be romantic, funny, or adventurous. Perhaps they lost a bet.

Director Andy Tennant has done well with romantic comedies like Hitch and Sweet Home Alabama in the past. But Bounty Hunter (rated PG-13 for language, suggestive dialogue, and, for my money, Aniston's constantly clinging wardrobe) is so disjointed and tone deaf, it's almost as if he isn't working from a script at all but rather piecing together scenes borrowed not just from other movies, but other genres and eras. At first, Aniston's sexy career girl Nicole and Butler's manhandling lothario Milo inject a feeling of Doris Day and Rock Hudson's 1959 classic, Pillow Talk, into the film. Like Hudson, Butler is one of the few men who can throw a woman over his shoulder and still keep the ladies in the audience on his side. And Aniston is one of the few women who can make us believe she doesn't want to go with him. But those glimmers of chemistry are quickly snuffed out by Tennant's strange homage to the ethos of '80s flicks.

From the intrusive Top-40 music to the corny slapstick and throwaway dialogue ("that's for calling me a girl," says Aniston as she fires on a bad guy), the whole thing feels like a weird amalgamation of Caddyshack, Beverly Hills Cop, and Midnight Run-except with all the elements that made those movies fun despite their cheesiness cut out. Amidst this patchwork bumble a series of goons so artificial and over-the-top they would look more at home in a made-for-TV Disney movie-if it weren't for all their swearing. Worst of all, we never find out why these two exes fell in love in the first place, which makes it impossible to care if they do so again.

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Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Memphis, Tenn.. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.

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