A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this uninspired romantic comedy with an action twist is a little more violent than most films of this genre. It has gunfights and knee-whackings, but no outright gore. There’s a fair amount of swearing, including "ass" and "s--t," and an improbable reunion between a career woman and the ex-husband who can’t seem to stop making fun of her, which sends some mixed messages about love and relationships. A scene set in a strip club includes some barely clad women (thongs, bras/pasties); there are plenty of references to sex as well.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
An ex-cop Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) owes $11,000 to loan sharks. So when his bail bondsman boss (Jeff Garlin) says he can make $5,000 to pick up one runaway, he says yes immediately and discovers it’s his ex-wife, newspaper reporter Nicole (Jennifer Aniston). Hot on the trail of a juicy story, she's skipped bail and has no time for a return engagement with a judge. But she might have time for a second chance at romance. That is, if she and her ex can stop bickering enough for the goodwill to resurface.
Is it any good?
One of the biggest principles of romantic comedy is that couple must have scorching chemistry; it’s a pity that Aniston and Butler have none. They both look great and sound great -- well, Aniston, anyway (more on this later) -- but paired together, we get nothing. The second rule of thumb: The story has to scamper lightly, but with great charm, and, sadly, THE BOUNTY HUNTER does neither, let alone both. The plot is predictable, the pacing clunky. And this despite numerous location shoots and ostensibly fast-moving hijinks.
Why Aniston chooses material like this is baffling. She has great comic timing and delivery that could be put to better use in less formulaic fare, but here she is, amiable and likable and looking great while phoning it in. Truly, it’s beneath her. And beneath him, too. Butler is not as rakishly appealing here as he is in other films (P.S. I Love You, for starters), and his accent is all wrong. To bring Milo’s oafishness across, he relies on clichéd shorthand, like chewing with his mouth open. Thank goodness for supporting actors like SNL’s Jason Sudeikis and Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who actually outshine them both.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Nicole and Milo’s marriage failed in the first place, and how believable their reunion is. Can two people who really hurt each other reconcile this easily, even in a romcom? What brings them back together?
What kinds of stereotypes does this movie portray? Do the men and women in the movie seem like real people, or caricatures?
- In theaters: March 19, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: July 13, 2010
- Cast: Gerard Butler, Jeff Garlin, Jennifer Aniston
- Director: Andy Tennant
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content including suggestive comments, language and some violence
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