The rom-com is a difficult genre to nail down; without the right chemistry, humour or storyline, the film can fall flat. Unfortunately, The Bounty Hunter is one of these films.

Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) is a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter who thinks the powers that be are finally shining down on him when he’s assigned to track down his bail-jumping ex-wife, reporter Nicole Hurly (Jennifer Aniston). Milo thinks he has an easy payday ahead, but Nicole gives him the slip so she can chase a lead on a murder cover-up. Milo quickly realizes nothing is ever easy between him and Nicole; especially when her investigation has them running for their lives and wondering who they can trust.

First, the chemistry. Milo and Nicole have an adversarial relationship through most of the movie, but there is supposed to be a deep-seated love still burning in each of them. Although they make great opponents, their fondness for each other is only evident when they are not sharing the screen; together, they appear to be nothing more than teasing friends.

Next, the humour. When romantic comedies rely on too much slapstick, it detracts from the witty relationship mishaps that are expected. In this case, the pair’s sparring should be central instead of a running handcuff gag. There are some key moments of laughter, particularly a regrettable outfit, but the film is fairly bumpy from start to finish.

Finally, the storyline. The movie begins 24 hours into the future, necessitating a flashback that is entirely pointless; it would have been better to simply begin at the start of the narrative. The plot itself works for the genre, as it entails a lot of disagreeing, hiding and chasing. Unhappily, it also has a lot of ups and downs in the entertainment department.

Butler and Aniston are well casted, as he fits the profile of an ex-cop turned bounty hunter and she matches an ambitious, risk-taking reporter; they simply lack a love connection beyond the antagonistic fireworks. Fortunately, the film also casted great actors for the secondary characters, such as Christine Baranski, Dorian Missick, Siobhan Fallon, Jeff Garlin and Peter Greene.

The soundtrack is diverse, including rock, alternative, country and rap tracks. The assortment is interesting, but contributes to the overall uneven feeling of the film.

Director Andy Tennant has been quite successful in the romance genre previously with films such as Ever After, Anna and the King and Sweet Home Alabama, but this time he’s missed the mark.


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