Sometimes, I really am a fool.

I walked into the screening theater to see “The Bounty Hunter,” with positivity in my heart. I was hopeful, thinking it might be a lighthearted romp, with roots in “His Girl Friday”-style sex comedies. I thought maybe it would have sharp tongues and a leading couple who, goshdarnit, are just made for each other. I hoped for Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Hell, Aniston’s character is even a reporter!

I really should have known better.

This movie is not “His Girl Friday.” It is not funny. It is not witty. Its characters are not likable, and the clothes are not fabulous. This film is about a bounty hunter named Milo (Gerard Butler) who has to arrest his ex-wife Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) for skipping bail. It is an angry, joyless little work of misanthropy that pretty much ruined a perfectly good Tuesday night.

Why am I so vehement about a movie that most would think of as awful but harmless? Because it forsakes the golden rule of rom-coms: Thou shalt never make the couple unlikeable. Milo is a gambling addict who thinks it’s great fun to lock his ex-wife in the trunk of a car and steal her credit card. Nicole is a reporter who needlessly puts her anonymous sources in danger and uses Milo’s addiction to try to win money for her escape. She has a co-worker named Stewart (Jason Sudeikis) who’s in love with her, and we’re supposed to think it’s funny that Stewart is stalking Nicole and sexually harassing her in the workplace. OMG, isn’t it hilarious the way he follows her into the ladies room and propositions her!?

Directed by: Andy Tennant
Written by: Sarah Thorp
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 110 mins.

The saving grace is Christine Baranski, the woman who has made a career out of being the saving grace in terrible movies. Baranski is her usual resplendent self as Nicole’s mother and an aging Atlantic City showgirl, making even the most tedious lines crackle with her dry and scathing delivery. The only moment she can’t save is this eye-rolling bit of dialogue, delivered to Milo when he comes to find out where Nicole is hiding.

“You know, on the outside she may be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside she’s just a girl who wants to be loved by her man!”

The fact that writer Sarah Thorp made her say this line at all should be classified as a crime against humanity. Christine deserves better than that.

What starts out as just a guy trying to drag his ex-wife to jail segues into a murder mystery Nicole has been trying to solve in between fending off Stewart’s advances. The plot is clear enough, but hastily concluded and really beside the point. This is a story about two people who hate each other but belong together. Or at least it would be if we cared enough about either of them to have a stake in whether they get together or not. But we don’t care. Because we don’t like them. And breaking that rom-com commandment is something I cannot forgive.

About The Author

Emma Johnson is a Blast Magazine critic whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe

7 Responses

  1. DanBee

    Ah, you are too kind Ms. Emma- is it not time for Ms Aniston to get some
    self-respect and retire- help others perhaps? She is the reigning queen
    of the Lucky Hall of Fame- and cannot act to save anyones life beyond a
    few affectations- she is the true work of the Star Making Machinery
    and would have been long forgotten if not married to Brad Pitt-
    my God- there are so many talented comediennes who are even naturally
    beautiful without surgery and filler – like Tea Leone and Charlize-
    even Bullock or god there are plenty- Lake Bell, Amanda Peet-
    what is the fascination with this meiocre, limited talent piggy faced
    not very bright girl? I still think it’s all about Brad Pitt- every bit of it

  2. TheElbowHigh

    Thank you for speaking out against this travesty of a film. The people must be warned. The plot was trite, transparent and mind-numbingly predictable. The acting was sub-par, and the cinematography was blah. I groaned at Christine Baranski’s “she wants to be loved” line. Are Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler going through some kind of financial slump where they have to star in crap simply to make ends meet? Did Sarah Thorp just want to get to meet Gerard? I sincerely don’t understand how this received a green light. Worst… film… ever.

  3. John Stephen Dwyer

    Although I had no intention of seeing this movie, ever, under any circumstances, I enjoyed this review because of my ignoble “if you have nothing good to say, I’d love to hear it” side. Is likeability of the leads a necessary in romantic comedies? I’ll take you word for it – not liking romantic comedies in general, I tend to dislike the lead characters in them as well. While the likeability of the main characters isn’t a requisite for good TV or cinema (think Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office UK or US version, etc.), I can imagine how a lack of likeability becomes egregious when the screenwriting in general is a huge disappointment.

  4. Brianna

    Thank you very much for your review; I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I have never been a huge fan of romantic comedies nor Jennifer Aniston, but I never thought I would end up hating them both. The Bounty Hunter is definitely one of the worst movies ever – it is almost as painful as The Break-Up or Marley and Me. I can guarantee that this was the last Jennifer Aniston film I have ever watched.

    Thank God for Christine Baranski though, who once again saved the day. Yes, I also hated the line “On the outside, she is a strong and independent woman…” (a crime against humanity indeed) but if it had not been for Christine…I swear I would have left the movie theater half way through the film. I was always hoping Kitty would come back on screen to save me from the misery…but unfortunately she only had like three scenes.

    I want my money back. I want to sue the director and the writer!!!

    • John Stephen Dwyer

      I hope you really mean it when you say that “The Bounty Hunter” is one of the worst movies ever. Made frivilouly, such a statement would be offensive to the families of all the people who died watching “Employee of the Month.”

  5. Gus

    You are 100 percent correct regarding this film. A terrible, terrible waste of time, talent and money. I am serious … the highlight of this film for me was when I excused myself to use the restroom to void my bladder.

  6. Daniel



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