Apparently, the makers of “The Bounty Hunter” believe in recycling.
The plot is familiar as an old shoe: Two hotheaded ex-lovers are thrown together in a dangerous situation with explosive results.
The man and woman in this case are action-star-turned-romantic-comedy-lead Gerard Butler and sitcom-star-turned-struggling-romantic-comedy-aspirer Jennifer Aniston. He’s a cop turned bounty hunter; she’s an intrepid reporter in stilettos. They’re divorced, and each fervently hopes never to see the other again.
Fate, of course, and well-worn movie clichÃ©s, have other ideas. When Aniston misses a court date because she’s on a hot story, the bail bondsman finds the perfect man to bring her in – her ex. Butler easily finds his mark and sets out to bring her in, as humiliatingly as possible.
But it seems that Aniston’s story has someone riled enough to try to kill her, and now both she and Butler are on the run.
The danger doesn’t seem particularly threatening, however, since the two frequently stop mid-flight to bicker or trade wisecracks – more overly familiar terrain for Butler, who’s been mixing action roles (“300,” “Law Abiding Citizen”) with banter-powered romantic comedy (“The Ugly Truth”) of late, and Aniston, whose “Friends” success still hangs over her movie career.
Aniston’s investigation involves some crooked cops stealing something from somewhere, blah, blah, blah, etc. The movie doesn’t exactly score points for realism: Aniston snags her scoop without taking a single note during the whole picture, then dictates the entire story in less than two minutes.
The story, like the movie, is pretty uninteresting and easily forgotten.
More memorable are Christine Baranski and Siobhan Fallon, who give small but humorous performances that bolster the comic content. In the spirit of throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, Jason Sudeikis (“Saturday Night Live”) plays a reporter with a crush on Aniston, while veterans Cathy Moriarty and Carol Kane have cameos.
Director Andy Tennant (“Hitch,” “Sweet Home Alabama”) infuses his scenes with interesting music and has one stylish chase scene at a racetrack, but the overall package is lacking.
The Bounty Hunter ** (2 stars)