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Genre: Romance/Comedy/Action
Director: Andy Tennant
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Jason Sudeikis, Christine Baranski, Dorian Missick, Joel Marsh Garland, Gio Perez, Jason Kolotouros, Adam Rose
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Sexual References & Some Coarse Language)
Official Website: http://www.thepursuitbegins.com/

Opening Day: 22 April 2010


Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler), a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, gets his dream job when he is assigned to track down his bail-jumping ex-wife, reporter Nicole Hurly (Jennifer Aniston). He thinks all that's ahead is an easy payday, but when Nicole gives him the slip so she can chase a lead on a murder cover-up, Milo realizes that nothing ever goes simply with him and Nicole. The exes continually one-up each other - until they find themselves on the run for their lives. They thought their promise to love, honor and obey was tough - staying alive is going to be a whole lot tougher.

Movie Review:

The Bounty Hunter relies heavily on the bickering couple element to carry a very plodding film through to the finishing line, and at its corners for a gender bout, there's Gerard Butler representing one of Hollywood's go-to persons for some physicality in a romantic action-comedy, while at the other there's genre veteran Jennifer Aniston flying the flag for females. It is perhaps quite surprising for a light weighted affair that the narrative chose to bite off more than it can chew, and gave the film a sense of unnecessary bloat thatís filled with boring subplots, and side show characters.

Gerard Butler plays Milo, the debt-ridden titular bounty hunter who was once a hotshot police officer, attracting the attention of Jennifer Aniston's hard-nosed reporter Nicole with whom he got married to, and divorced from over a span of less than 3 years. Nicole is now in pursuit of a big story probing into the integrity of the New York Police Force, and because she had jumped bail for assaulting a police officer, a cruel twist of Fate dictates that her ex-husband got the job of tracking her down and putting her behind bars. Which of course isnít too difficult given that he knows exactly where to start, and therein lies its failure in its inability to keep the narrative interesting once its chief plot objective got met.

This got followed by a very flimsy narrative flow of one-upmanship between the two leads, which provided plenty of avenues for juvenile humour. Take for instance, Miloís pursuit of Nicole, the latter in a trishaw peddling hard, while the former in a car repeatedly bumping into her as a signal that her game is up. You may argue that this shows the immaturity of Milo, but seriously, it is exactly this kind of scenes that had led to the 110 minute runtime that will have you looking at your watch in exasperation. You can feel just how some scenes stick out like a sore thumb, clearly designed for some cheap laughs, and filled with too many minor characters and subplots to distract. Do we really need a horny motherly character, or yet another generic and bland cop character that pops up in the beginning and end only, just to provide that did-he-or-didnít-he guesswork?

Gerard Butler has a few feathers under his belt as a romantic-comedy lead, starring opposite the likes of Hillary Swank in P.S. I Love You, and Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth. I do enjoy moments in those films where he lapses into self-deprecating humour, and has enough of that roguish good looks to be that smoldering big romantic, but we get to see yet another side of Butlerís performance as quite the loser his Milo character is, with a few deft touches of his own, but pretty clueless and careless throughout like a bull in a China shop. Paired with Anistonís constant portrayal of neurotic characters, they work best together when on the same side, rather than on opposing ends (in trying to catch, and elude the other), which plays on the theme of having two heads are better than one, or that they make such a cute couple they should be working with each other instead since overcoming obstacles in their way is proven to be easy-peasy.

Except that both Butler and Aniston share very little chemistry with each other, and seem to be going through the motions instead. There are some takeaways from the film especially when it hits the brakes and take time off (re: adding to the minutes) to put the characters in a reflective mode, reminiscing about the glorious loving life they once had, and wonder just what had gotten in their way to derail their marital bliss. Lessons in relationships and commitment donít come off any less explicit than how they got discussed here, and become the actual bounty when the end credits finally hit the screen.

Movie Rating:

(Strictly for fans of Jennifer Aniston and/or Gerard Butler)

Review by Stefan Shih


. The Ugly Truth (2009)

. Love Happens (2009)

. The Proposal (2009)

. Fool's Gold (2008)

. Management (2008)

. RocknRolla (2008)

. P.S. I Love You (2007)


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