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Non-Review Review: The Bounty Hunter

It’s a movie which stars Gerard Butler as a bounty hunter. It should at least feature infinitely greater amounts of gratuitous violence, even if it was always going to be just this boring.

If you want to get revenge on a partner, you can take them to jail... or you can make them watch The Bounty Hunter...

This movie is 110 minutes long. I want you to think about that for a moment. It means I’ve had nightmares which are shorter.

The Bounty Hunter is a lazy film. A really lazy film. It is so lazy that it introduces you to its lead characters through title cards. And, considering how bland and one-dimensional the characters are, that’s pretty damn lazy.

Basically The Bounty Hunter is one of the newer breeds of romantic comedies. Let’s call them “Gerard Butler” romantic comedies, because perhaps the most apparent other example is The Ugly Truth – although there are countless other examples in recent memory. The idea seems to be that you can somehow diminish the inherently “chick flick” nature of a romantic comedy by giving it an edge somehow – as if by doing so, you will be able to create some leverage that will allow you to draw in male members of the audience by appealing to them in the most stereotypical (and offensive) manner possible. In The Ugly Truth, we were given a crass and crude male character who was clearly meant to give the comedy “an edge”. Here, it’s an awkward attempt to meld a romance with a comedy with an action film. Unfortunately, this is what it would look like if you merged a crap film with a crap romance with a crap action film.

The plot follows a bounty hunter (see, there’s an aggressive stereotypically manly profession!) who is tasked with tracking down his ex-wife and taking her to prison (which the movie – based on its lowest common denominator tagline – seems to suggest is a common male fantasy). Meanwhile she is trying to solve “suicide” which was clearly not (ah! a murder, that’s manly, right?) while dealing with the most ineffective snitches, crooked cops and bookies ever (yes, these are all archetypes from crime films and dudes dig crime films, right?). Believe me, that plot description could not possibly sum up how ridiculous lame the movie is.

By the way, its use of these archetypes is crazy. Sure, it ends in a dingy strip club in a forgotten part of town, but the presentation of snitches and corrupt cops and drug dealers is so decidedly inoffensive (really? these people just hang around in middle-class suburbia for most of the film? they golf?) that it runs the line back into “offensive” pretty fast. It’s clear that the writers had no idea what they were writing when giving us these characters (though, I have little reason to suspect that they knew what they were writing when they wrote the more conventional romantic comedy parts either).

Along the way, the two rekindle their romance (because this is a chick flick after all – and audiences can’t cope with films that don’t have happy endings!) and learn that not all love is based on perfect compatability (see, we’re being just a little bit “edgy” here – Gerard Butler is no Mr. D’Arcy!), rather upon acknowledging the flaws in your partner and coming to live with them (because we’re still trying to pitch this as a manly romantic film, and the notion that both should compromise with each other rather than living with their existing faults is a “girly” idea!). Except here’s the problem: throughout the film the characters use their intimate knowledge of each other and their flaws to hurt and undermine each other. Acknowledging your lover’s flaw apparently isn’t part of accepting them for who they are, but finding leverage to manipulate them with.

Bathroom humour... Although that would imply that there was anything remotely funny about the film...

And, just a reminder, this goes on for 110 minutes. And there isn’t a single joke which made me laugh.

By the way, has anyone noticed how intensely irritating the light jazz fusion stereotypically bland and sit-com-esque soundtracks to these films are? Yes, I was so bored that I attempted to listen to the ambient music in the background. And it was just as terrible as the rest of the film. Seriously, it’s like screaming “whimsy!” at the top of your lungs while blowing into an orchestra’s brass section.

The performances are terrible. Seriously, I’ve seen primary school plays with better actors – school plays that didn’t even star any blood relatives, so I’m not even being polite to anyone by saying that. There’s a moment when Jennifer Aniston fakes crying, and Gerard Butler can deduce instantly that she’s faking. And she pulls the exact same tears later on, only for him to declare, “that’s real.” Not that Gerard Butler does better himself, but at least he’s smart enough not to fake cry when he knows that’s outside the scope of his abilities.

And the climax involves a Gotti reference. Really? Is that your target market?

Ugh.

It’s just a terrible, terrible film, and I really don’t want to think about it anymore.

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6 Responses

  1. I didn’t bother seeing this one, partly because of the reviews, but mostly because I can’t stand Butler. It sounds absolutely horrific from your review, so am glad I didn’t now!

  2. I also detest Gerard Butler, which was the main reason I couldn’t bring myself to watch this.
    That plot sounds horrendous!
    I think there’s a niche in the market for a Godawful Films boxset – Therein I would place The Bounty Hunter, I Love You,Beth Cooper and The Last Airbender.

  3. Well unlike these two sisters, I actually LIKE GB, but I wholeheartedly agree this is horrendous but hey, your review actually made me laugh 🙂 I do think he’s so much better than this, and I’m glad his next projects have definitely moved far away from rom-com territory.

    • Thanks Ruth, some good came of my vitriol. I think he actually has (in a term way too overused these days) “everyman” charm. In that he doesn’t look like he asked a makeup crew to make it look like he just crawled out of bed, he actually just crawled out of bed.

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