The town looks great in an otherwise weak rom-com
Before we begin our reviews, allow me a mini-rant. Too many movies these days have crappy dialogue, bad photography and stories that have little connection to the way real people act and talk. In addition, product placement is so up front, it can overwhelm whatever story has been cobbled together from spare parts stolen from the other cookie-cutter flicks that came before the latest “wait-for-the-video” extravaganza.
Yes, The Bounty Hunter falls smack dab into the middle of my rant. While damning with very faint praise, I will concede that it is better than Gerard Butler’s previous rom-com, last summer’s horrible The Ugly Truth. The Bounty Hunter isn’t quite as ugly as that, but it doesn’t provide one original moment or one moment between the two protagonists that rings true.
The movie follows the standard rom-com template that opposites attract and then the love gets explosive and out of control. Milo Boyd (Butler), a former NYC cop turned bounty hunter, is overjoyed when he learns that his ex-wife, reporter Nicole Hurley (Jennifer Aniston), has skipped bail. There is nothing like being able to legally take your wife to jail to ease the pain of the break-up.
Not that the plot is worth recounting, but Nicole is working on a story that has a killer on her trail. Milo figures out that Nicole is headed to Atlantic City after a trip to the racetrack, but of course he thinks her story about being in danger is just a ploy. Milo shouldn’t be visiting A.C. right now since he owes money to a local bookie, Irene (Cathy Moriarity). There are bookies in Atlantic City? Say it ain’t so.
The movie breaks out the usual clichés of the genre, which are supposed to be spiced up by the side action of comic thugs and a serious killer on their trail. There is absolutely no chemistry on screen between Butler and Aniston, and the movie is utterly forgettable.
Bounty of A.C. Shots
Beyond the actual movie, it was fun to see Atlantic City on film again, including an AC Weekly box in one scene. I did like that the location scout for the movie must have shown director Andy Tennant the old advertisement for Irene’s Gifts. Long before the casinos, Irene’s was the place you shopped for T-shirts and beach gear and all the other sundries. The director put the Irene’s ad in the movie and made the name of the bookie Irene. There are also nice shots of the Boardwalk, scenes at the Taj and shots of the Borgata. The Borgata, by the way, paid plenty for those taxi shots that feature an ad for the Borgata. Product placement doesn’t come cheap. I won’t even bitch too much about having a bicycle taxi on the Boardwalk instead of a rolling chair. The scene doesn’t work unless it is a bike so I won’t quibble.
Healthcare Gone Bad
Forget about death panels, the future of healthcare, if it is run by companies that are willing to kill patients for profit, is the premise of the bloody awful (and I do mean bloody) Repo Men. Fall too far behind on your payments for an artificial body part and the repo men will come and literally cut it out of you. What is more depressing than the bleak future shown in Repo Men is the sense that there was an intriguing premise somewhere in this mess of blood and guts. However, the combination of a plot that made no sense, and a pile-it-on bloodbath ending that was laughingly awful, leaves you wondering what Forest Whitaker and Jude Law saw in the script that made them sign on for this project.
The Bounty Hunter **
Directed by Andy Tennant; rated PG13
Repo Men * 1/2
Directed by Mxiguel Sapochnik; rated R
Boardwalk Empire has brought renewed interest in Atlantic City and has inspired numerous 1920s era events in the region. However, there is another movie that is partially set in Atlantic City that is bringing a different notoriety to our town.
"It's always cool to see Atlantic City on the big screen."