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Movie Review

Relationships don't always read like Valentine's Day candy. Young lovers who once exchanged chalky hearts bearing the words "you're sweet" and "be mine" sometimes wind up rooting around for pieces that read "you jerk" or "get lost."

Exes Nicole and Milo would, frankly, love to communicate through candy (their favorites would say "see my attorney" and "die, scum, die") and they'd like it all the more if they could hurl it at each other like sugary ninja stars. Married for only nine months, they were once madly in love. Now they're just plain mad. They go together like ice cream and pickles, like TVs and bathtubs, like Kim Jong Il and representative democracy.

So when Milo, the film's titular bounty hunter, learns that Nicole (Nic, for short) has a warrant out for her arrest, he nearly comes unglued with glee. A chance to cart his ex-wife off to jail? What could be better?

Nic, incidentally, isn't exactly a hardened criminal. She's a New York City reporter who made an (almost) innocent mistake, and then made another one when she skipped out on a court date to chase down a story lead. But a warrant is a warrant, so Milo tracks her down and begins escorting her to the slammer—surely longing to give her candy engraved with "ha-ha" as a cell-warming gift.

But their path to said cell isn't a straight one. It seems that Nic's snooping has aroused the interest of a very bad man who lobs lead at his enemies, not derogatory hearts. And then there's Milo's bookie, who decides that right about now would be a good time to collect on his ever-growing pile of debt. Even Stewart manages to get in Milo's way. Who's Stewart? Stewart's a lovelorn reporter who hopes to get close to Nic by working with her on the story.

All these ardent pursuers would be enough to ruin anyone's day—particularly those forced to sit and watch all this. Where's the candy heart that says "the end"?


Positive Elements

We all know, of course, that Milo and Nic will again find their loving feelings for each other before that much-anticipated end finally comes. We're told what a wonderful couple they once were, and we're shown that underneath it all they still care for each other. We're expected to root for their reunification—making this film, at least on the surface, pro-marriage. Both admit to making mistakes, and both promise to make amends.

On the path back to lovey-doveyness, Milo and Nic bust a criminal or two. Oh, and they give away lots of money. Granted, it's someone else's money, and they give it away at a strip club. But when you have so little positive to say about a movie …

Spiritual Content

Milo surmises that karma must be at work in him nabbing Nic. And he tells her that she's "mocked the gods of craps" when she refuses to blow on the dice.

Sexual Content

Nic and Milo, as they fall back in like, hide out at the same bed & breakfast they spent their honeymoon. The dim lights and nostalgia begin to work their magic on the couple and by the time they get to the bedroom both are debating internally whether they should have sex. Both call for advice: Nic phones her mother, who advises her to get naked and get busy (and also asks Nic to take "one picture of his a‑‑" for her). Milo gets mixed advice from his bail bondsman and the bondsman's assistant, and he eventually tells them that after he has sex with Nic, he still plans to cart her off to jail. Nic overhears the conversation—just as she's about to walk into the bedroom naked. (We see her bare shoulders.)

Elsewhere, shots include women's bare backsides and nearly bare breasts at a strip club. Two people ask Nic to flash her breasts. (She doesn't.) Nic asks a tattoo artist to tattoo a large panther on her in a way that would evoke oral (bestial) sex.

Both Milo and Nic get handcuffed to beds in hotels. In one instance—mistaking the intent—a maid makes comments about fetishes. Milo tells Nic that since the two of them split he's had a number of wild, sexual flings.

Milo passionately kisses both Nic and the bondsman's admin. In the latter case, the woman asks him to give her gum back. Nic, caught straddling Milo in an effort to get his gun, pretends she's trying to seduce him. We hear a graphic double entendre and several crude words describing genitals. Nic's mom, an entertainer in Atlantic City, makes a reference to a transvestite who works with her. Bare (female) legs, painted on a wall, straddle a door.

Violent Content

Milo punches and gets punched, tackles and is tackled, shoots guns and is shot at. He dodges golf balls, sets a parade float on fire, throws his ex-wife in a car trunk, gets tasered and is punched in the testicles (a punch that we see twice). Other characters also get into fistfights and wrestling matches. Somebody gets duct-taped to a chair and threatened with a "dead snitch" tattoo on his eyelids. A car window is smashed in. Milo runs an SUV off a road and smacks into the back of a rickshaw (pedaled by his wife) several times.

In terms of abuse, no one is mistreated as much as Stewart, the poor reporter trying to woo Nic. Gambling thugs mistake him for Milo and smash his head into a car trunk, break his leg with a golf club and—once they realize their mistake—inject him with a horse tranquilizer. (We see the huge needle enter Stewart's neck.)

The story Nic's chasing involves the apparent suicide (actually, murder) of a police officer. There's talk of committing suicide by jumping off a building.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 30 s-words and one obscene gesture, along with uses of "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch," d‑‑n" and "p‑‑‑." God's name is misused another 30 times; it's paired with "d‑‑n" in about eight instances. Jesus' name is abused twice.

Drug and Alcohol Content

People drink wine, beer and champagne, and we see Milo quite drunk after a night in the casino. There is also, of course, the aforementioned horse tranquilizer.

Other Negative Elements

Milo has an obvious gambling addiction the film does little more than wink at. Nic knows his weakness (he owes his bookie $11,000) and as they drive by an Atlantic City casino, she brandishes $500 to let her go. Milo takes the money and eventually loses it all on one roll of the dice. Then he gambles away the check he got from a previous bounty. It's all played for laughs—as is the fact that he "borrows" Nic's credit card to pay for a posh hotel room.

In an effort to get away from his bookie's thugs, Milo takes a bag of the bookie's money and begins slinging cash around a strip club, creating chaos. He steals a car from a country club, purposefully muddies Nic's white carpets and drops her toothbrush in the toilet. Nic steals a rickshaw.


"Life is about making mistakes," Nic tells Milo during a romantic dinner.

"Death," Milo adds, "is about wishing you'd made a whole lot more."

By that reckoning, Milo will surely die a happy man. If the rest of his life is anything like the snippet we see in The Bounty Hunter, it's hard to believe he could conceivably stuff more mistakes into only one life. He is—and let's be nice about it—a jerk. It's never a good sign when you find yourself wanting a film's hero to go to prison—perhaps in North Korea.

Granted, Milo's supposed to be a little unhinged by love gone wrong. But the spiteful character we first meet—who is meant to contrast and accentuate Milo's eventual redemption—crosses the line from being merely a wacky, love-hurt ninny into someone who seems borderline psychopathic and even abusive. If I saw a man pick up a struggling girl and throw her into his car trunk, as Milo does with Nic, I'd hope I'd be dialing 911, not laughing and nudging my neighbor.

And I didn't laugh. Or nudge. Not once during the whole, 128-minute movie. Not a "this film is a teensy bit funny in places" laugh, not even an "I feel guilty for laughing at this" laugh. There are a lot of unfunny comedies out there these days. But this one just about tops the heap. The Hurt Locker had more humor.

So if life truly is about making mistakes, then by all means go see The Bounty Hunter. Because all the way through you'll be saying to yourself, "Well, this was a mistake!"

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Jennifer Aniston as Nicole Hurley; Gerard Butler as Milo Boyd; Jason Sudeikis as Stewart; Christine Baranski as Kitty


Sony Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

March 19, 2010

On Video

July 13, 2010

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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