'Bounty Hunter' fails to find a decent script

Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler play former spouses trying to solve both their failed marriage and an apparent murder.

Did someone say The Booty Hunter?

In an early scene in The Bounty Hunter, the desperately unfunny action-romance starring Jennifer Aniston's glutes and Gerard Butler's triceps, the camera trails Aniston's backside as in an extended doggy greeting.

Foreplay and foul play make strange bedfellows in this yawn about flirty ex-spouses ciphering the twin puzzles of their failed marriage and an unsolved murder. (Or was it suicide?)

While following a hot lead, Nicole (Aniston), crime reporter for the New York Daily News, misses a court date for a parking infraction. When the judge issues a bench warrant for her arrest, Milo (Butler), a former cop now in the employ of a bail bondsman, jumps at the chance to drag her to jail. Before he can, though, she drags him on a manhunt that takes them through New Jersey from Monmouth Park Racetrack to Atlantic City, where Nicole's debauched mom (the reliably funny Christine Baranski) works as a cabaret singer.

Director Andy Tennant, responsible both for the charming Hitch and the charmless Fool's Gold, hasn't much of a script to work with this time. Perhaps he thought the saucy appeal of his stars would fill in the plot sinkholes?

Tennant aims for a contemporary version of The Thin Man, wedding the banter of sparring spouses with sleuth work. To say that he falls short of the mark is understatement. He doesn't even come close. And despite Aniston's carbonated tickle and Butler's sandpaper charm, neither do they.

Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey

at 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/


The Bounty Hunter

Directed by Andy Tennant. With Ruby Feliciano, Gerard Butler, Cathy Moriarty, Jason Sudeikis, Dorian Missick, Christine Baranski, Jennifer Aniston, Siobhan Fallon, Natalie Morales, Daisy Tahan. Distributed by Sony Pictures.

Running time: 1 hours, 46 minutes.

Parent's guide: PG-13 (for sexual content including suggestive comments, language and some violence).