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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Little-Late Film Review: The Bounty Hunter

 2010 Columbia Pictures; Photo:
I know this film by reputation. It is one of the worst-reviewed major releases of 2010 ranking with an astonishingly low 7% on the Tomatometer ( I don’t know what got into me but I have been digging into the bottom of the Instant Streaming barrel of late, subjecting myself to one horrible piece of crap after another. So I chose to watch this one to see how terrible it could be. I watched as one character tells another character their own life story so that we can know what is going on. I sit and sit and sit and sit, listening to one line of lazily-written exposition after another. I paused the movie to grab a drink and looked at the time progress bar across the bottom of my screen and saw that I am only nine minutes in. I roll my eyes. “This is going to be a long one.“

The Bounty Hunter astonished me. I found myself cursing out the screen as uninteresting characters do unfunny things and always make the wrong decision for two hours. The plot (or as I like to call it: the excuse to have Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler argue incessantly for two hours) involves Milo (Butler) as an ex-cop-turned-bounty-hunter who learns (through a plot contrivance) that his ex-wife Nichole (Aniston) has a bounty out because she skipped out on a court hearing for a traffic violation. Milo finds Nichole almost instantly and he actually gives her a running head start. Of course he catches her after a stupid slapstick chase scene and this is actually where the movie gets worse. Time after time the inept Milo gives Nichole a chance to escape, if she does, he catches her, then she tries to escape again.

Nichole is trying to get in touch with a source regarding a covered-up murder as she is a reporter. When her source disappears, then suddenly reappears, the bad guys try to set Nichole up by having her source lead her into a trap. This goes bad of course and leads to another chase where she futily tries to escape her ex. This is the whole movie: Milo catches her, she escapes, Milo catches her, she escapes. In the end the two rekindle their love or some crap and all of this garbage concludes with one of the most predictable and unsatisfying endings the lazy, untalented writers of this monstrosity could have conceived.

The fundamental problem with The Bounty Hunter is listening to two people argue for two hours is not inherently funny. The film’s screenwriter Sarah Thorp (who also wrote Twisted, an even worse film that got a stunning 2% on the Tomatometer from, seems to be incapable of writing funny and intelligent dialogue. The Bounty Hunter’s screenplay boils down to a series of dumb characters interacting with each other in the most uninteresting ways possible with some of the most poorly written dialogue I have ever heard in a major Hollywood release. I kid you not.

The acting doesn’t fare better. Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston are both pretty much consistently terrible and together they are deadly bad. Butler purses his lips, donning sunglasses, as he reads his lines with such disinterest that you’d think he was checking his Blackberry during filming. Aniston flips her hair around, makes airhead faces and spouts out one dumb line after another as though she were a sixth grader reading aloud for her class. When the actors aren’t speaking in a monotone they are screaming their way through the film. Most of the shouting and shrieking is reserved for a mustachioed Jason Sudeikis as Stewart, a co-worker of Nichole’s who is pining for her.

The Bounty Hunter is an example of what happens when untalented people are given free reign to a very bad plot. The director did do Hitch, a mediocre film that had enough charm to warrant a moderate recommendation, but this film is an example of how there is always room to fall. Despite the questionable skill of all involved it’s hard not to be astonished by how terrible this movie actually is. With the current state of the romantic comedy, it’s safe to say that this genre may be dead soon. There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel either as Hollywood continues to spew out more horrible trash upon an unsuspecting crowd of poor souls who should really check out a film’s credentials before paying money to see it. Fortunately, this film was widely ignored by audiences, it barely made back its big budget, which is far more than it deserves. This one should go straight to the top (or should I say bottom?) of the list for consideration for a Razzie. This is a royal piece of trash that should be ignored. Don’t be an idiot like me and subject yourself to this unquestionably inept, idiotic, unforgivingly horrible “movie.” If you absolutely must have a romantic comedy, check out (500) Days of Summer instead and do yourself a favor.

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