No bounty here

RANT OF THE WEEK

Pursuing a thriving and respected career in film following a role in a sitcom as wildly successful as FRIENDS is damn near impossible. Just ask David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox. Out of the cast of FRIENDS, one of the six pals managed to make a semi-decent job of transitioning from the small to the big screen: Jennifer Aniston.

The problem with Aniston, however, is that it’s difficult to say whether she really been successful or not. Despite a long line of nowhere films, she’s made a decent romantic comedy or two, such as The Break-Up with Vince Vaughn in 2006. Aniston’s also shown that she has some real acting talent in films like Friends With Money (2006) and The Good Girl (2002). However, roles such as the latter two have been (shamefully) few and far between for Aniston. Whether this is because they don’t get offered to her or whether she opts for commercial refuse herself is another matter. What I would like to ask, with reference to her latest romcom, The Bounty Hunter, is: “Really, Jen?”

The reason for this question is that, just as her previous film in this genre, Management (2009), The Bounty Hunter is neither funny nor romantic. While most of the gaga that Hollywood calls comedy these days belongs in a toilet, Tinseltown has shown, with films like It’s Complicated (2010) and Something’s Gotta Give (2003), that it can still have an audience in stitches with real humour and a little love thrown in the mix.

Not so with The Bounty Hunter. Firstly, the plot is thinner than wax paper. An ex-cop-turned-bounty-hunter called Milo (seriously?), played by Gerard Butler, lands the job of ‘bringing in’ his ex-wife, Nicole Hurley (Aniston) – perhaps Nicole’s last name could be an unintended reference to another actress, who has an unfortunate lack of talent? Nicole has missed a court appearance following her arrest on something ridiculous like clipping a police horse – she’s too busy being a serious journalist to honour her bail conditions, you see. Now, of course, it’s up to Milo to find and arrest her, a thought he relishes in. However, Nicole finds herself being chased by some bad guys with worse skin after uncovering a murder. Milo gets drawn into the mess, and everybody starts chasing everybody else yak, yak, yak … Bored yet?

Because, I was. Incredibly bored, that is. As good-looking as they both are, Butler and Aniston have no onscreen chemistry. Milo never seems quite angry and vengeful enough in his pursuit to see Nicole in jail and she doesn’t really look like she hates him all that much. They never seem all that attracted to one another either. It’s all just a little too wishy-washy to be believable.

The Bounty Hunter is not even good date-movie material. The only thing worthwhile in the whole film was the scene in which Milo inspects his ripped abdominals in the mirror. Gerard Butler is completely yummy and just for that, I’ll give the film a bonus point. However, a five-second glance at Butler’s upper body is not worth R45 a ticket. I’d rather rent The Break-Up on DVD for the fourth time and spend the rest of the money on half-price Easter eggs at Woolies.

Director: Andy Tennant (Fool’s Gold, Hitch)Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler
Rating: 2 out of 5

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