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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Bounty Hunter

Make no mistake, there's nothing exactly wrong with the idea of basing a romantic comedy on Midnight Run - it's just that this romantic comedy based on Midnight Run is just not that good. Midnight Run, for those who don't know, is a classic 80s comedy in which a bounty hunter (Robert DeNiro) and his captive (Charles Grodin) get into a lot of pretty hilarious trouble. And it's easy to see why the idea of taking the basic concept and putting a romantic spin on it would seem like a god idea: it's a buddy movie where the buddies can fall in love. But again, here it just does not work.

It'd be easy to blame the casting, but while Jennifer Aniston does have a string of duds to her name there's no denying that she can actually do good work even decent material. The same goes for Gerard Butler, even though to date the only examples of his good work have been in straight dramas (The Ugly Truth was just plain ugly). And the story itself moves along nicely, throwing in a decent amount of twists and turns as Aniston's hard-boiled journalist finds her investigation of a suspicious suicide constantly interrupted by the need to escape out of the boot of the car of her ex-cop turned bounty hunter ex-husband (Butler) as he tries to claim the bounty for her skipping bail over an assault charge.

But the characters are mostly annoying, the jokes almost never work, there's almost no chemistry between Butler and Aniston, the overly complicated and totally predictable story never once threatens to become exciting and the whole thing feels like a chore long before the final credits. Midnight Run isn't hard to come by; if you're looking for something to watch, The Bounty Hunter proves you could do a lot worse.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #476)

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