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Friday, March 19, 2010

Jennifer Aniston's good-girl charm is on full display in The Bounty Hunter

Posted By on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 3:48 PM

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She hasn’t starred in a good movie since, oh, 2002's The Good Girl . So why is Jennifer Aniston Hollywood’s second highest-paid actress (just behind romantic rival Angelina Jolie)? You might ponder this during the dull spots in her latest, The Bounty Hunter. I think it’s because despite her Architectural Digest house and compulsively sculpted face, she has an appealing regular-girl charm, amply in evidence in this shambling screwball comedy directed by Andy Tennant. Aniston plays New York Daily News reporter Nicole Hurley, the kind of journalist found in no newsroom on earth, pursuing hot leads while wearing skin-tight miniskirts and six-inch spike heels. Arrested after a police scuffle, Nicole jumps bail to follow a lead on a murder case. Her ex-husband Milo (Gerard Butler), an ex-cop turned bounty hunter, gets the job of apprehending her. They set off on an acrimonious road trip through Atlantic City that involves Milo locking Nicole into a car trunk, vengeful bookies gunning for Milo, murderous tattoo artists gunning for Nicole, and Milo and Nicole fighting, flirting and contemplating a reunion. The plot gears grind rather sluggishly, and there are few real sparks generated between Aniston and Butler, whose American accent makes him sound like he’s from nowhere. Yet like Aniston, the movie has a redeeming amiability. Sarah Thorp’s screenplay furnishes some laughs, and the zesty supporting cast includes Christine Baranski as Nicole’s mom, a bawdy casino singer, Jason Sudeikis as the nerdy reporter in love with Nicole, and Cathy Moriarty as a ruthless bookie. ** 1/2

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