This is not Sparta, but it’s not terrible either. “The Bounty Hunter,” a sexy action flick, is perfectly average in every way. You sit down, watch it, laugh a few times and are reminded of traditional plot conventions used in cop movies and romantic comedies. It isn’t awful. It isn’t all that great. It’s predictable, uncomplicated, but in a way, comfortable. It’s a movie, which is all you should expect it to be.
“The Bounty Hunter”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
Watching “Bounty Hunter” feels like putting on new socks in the morning. Yes, putting on clean(er) socks is something you do every day, but the moment you do it, you feel a tad happier than you were previously. Then you continue living your life as if nothing changed.
The film borders on “buddy-cop,” except this time the duo is comprised of the subtly seductive Jennifer Aniston (“Love Happens”), and the awkwardly Scottish Gerard Butler (“300”/every Michigan State pre-game montage). An unlikely pair, you say? Well, while that may be true, don’t underestimate the unintentional comedy that comes from watching King Leonidas shove Rachel from “Friends” into the trunk of a car so luxurious it’s unclear how his bounty hunter’s salary can afford it.
The stars of this movie forge an on-screen chemistry by virtue of the fact that they probably will never speak to each other after the movie premieres. Nor did they have any knowledge of the other’s existence before they began filming. Butler and Aniston play off one another the way two extroverts awkwardly converse in an elevator, showing vulnerability and openness only because they know their floor is coming up soon.
While the comedy is mostly unintentional, there are some genuine laughs to be had. Jason Sudeikis (“Saturday Night Live”) is a surprise, and he (justly) has enough lines throughout the entire film to satisfy the comedic urges of most audiences. Aniston’s drunken, sex-obsessed single mother character is off-putting enough to be funny, but not detailed enough to be nasty.
There aren’t enough ways to refer to how average this film is, nor to how OK with it you’ll be afterward. People often use the word “average” to denote something that (subconsciously) they have deemed below-average. Here, the word “average” is meant to signify the perfect middle-ground between “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Corky Romano.”
Let’s face it. Walking into the theater to see “Bounty Hunter,” you know what you’re getting into. It delivers on its promised plot that involves a male ex-cop hunting down his ex-wife, which, on paper, should create situations allowing for comedy, romance and action scenes. The movie does what it can with all three, but doesn’t go deeper into its characters. And perhaps this is the way all films should be viewed: Not everything you watch should be held in comparison to the best thing you’ve ever seen.
Take someone special to this movie. Soak in the humor and the romance, take a moment to appreciate that King Leonidas’s career isn’t over yet. Then pack up, leave the theater and continue living your life.