Friday, March 19, 2010

The Bounty Hunter: Run for the exit

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 12:53 PM


By Matt Brunson


DIRECTED BY Andy Tennant

STARS Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler

The Oscars for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing frequently go to war movies or science fiction films — this year, for example, The Hurt Locker beat out such competitors as Avatar, Inglourious Basterds and Star Trek for both statues. Frankly, I think the criteria regarding these categories should be modified so that the winner doesn't necessarily have to promote technical innovation or seat-rattling verisimilitude, but can instead simply make a torturous viewing experience more tolerable by including some aural pleasures certain to ease the suffering of moviegoers.

By that token, I nominate The Bounty Hunter as an early contender for the next round of annual awards. If nothing else, the soundtrack contains a delightfully eclectic mix of songs, from The Rolling Stones' "Hang Fire" and Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky" to Frank Sinatra's "This Town" and Jerry Reed's "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)." Whenever these tunes (and others) floated through the auditorium speakers, it was possible to shut my eyes and pretend I was back home, peacefully sitting on the couch with beer or wine in hand. But then the music would subside and somebody on screen, usually Jennifer Aniston or Gerard Butler, would start speaking again, and I was cruelly snapped back to reality.

Honestly, what's there to say about a romantic comedy so generic that it might as well have been called Generic Romantic Comedy? As the title character, a slob who's been hired to find his ex-wife and haul her to jail for missing a court date, Butler builds on The Ugly Truth by playing another boorish chauvinist, once again demonstrating that his comedic instincts are roughly on par with those of a great white shark. And as the angry ex, a reporter who's on the verge of single-handedly cracking a murder case (in tight dress and heels, of course), Aniston regrettably shows that she's only dependable when insulated by terrific indie casts (The Good Girl, Friends with Money) or co-starring opposite adorable retriever puppies (aww, Marley!).

Predictably plotted, poorly cast (the leads have zero chemistry) and painfully unfunny (nothing here to even crack a smile, let alone bust a gut), The Bounty Hunter is yet one more imbecilic effort suffering from arrested development.

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