Making the Grades
Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler) is an ex-cop turned bounty hunter who has racked up a huge gambling debt and has the loan sharks bearing down on him. Living on a shoestring, he is eager to pick up any work he can from his boss Sid (Jeff Garlin). His latest assignment, however, is proving to be a little trickier than most.
His ex-wife Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) skipped bail and now the judge wants her hauled into jail. But the driven newspaper reporter thinks she has better things to do than sit behind bars. Following up on a police investigation into the suicide of a city employee, Nicole is beginning to suspect there is murder involved in the untimely death. She becomes even more certain she is onto something when her informant on the street (Adam Rose) goes missing just before he is to meet her with some insider information.
All that means nothing to Milo when he picks up his former lover and stuffs her into the trunk of his car. (As a disturbing testimony to the general public’s unwillingness to get involved in other people’s lives, the event happens during the middle of the day in a parking lot filled with commuters and no one makes any effort to intervene or question Milo’s actions.) Not to be deterred by the bounty hunter’s intentions to bring her in, Nicole makes every possible attempt to escape from his clutches. As a result, she spends much of her time handcuffed to car doors or bedposts.
Unfortunately, Nicole isn’t the only one who may feel like a hostage in this script where the couple’s constant arguing is apparently played for laughs and sexual tension—neither of which materializes. Audience members may feel trapped as well, particularly by the plot’s attempt to convince us the embattled couple is better together than apart. It is a stretch to say the least, especially when their mean-spirited exchanges involve the use of a Taser, a toothbrush dropped in the toilet and repeated name-calling. Meanwhile viewers are also subjected to a steady stream of profanities including scatological slang and vulgarities along with frequent crude sexual innuendo and comments. During one scene in a strip bar, customers and audience members are also exposed to female buttock nudity and barely-dressed dancers with only the skimpiest of frontal coverings.
While the ex-lovers are bickering over who is at fault in their failed romance, other characters in the movie become victims of kidnapping, violent beatings, car accident injuries, bloody gunshot wounds and threats with a tattoo gun. The depictions bring a much more serious tone to this romantic comedy that tries to double as an action film.
Fortunately the plot only covers a couple of days during which Nicole wears a little black skirt and cleavage-baring top for almost the entire time. But even after spending two hours (that feel much, much longer) with Milo and Nicole, it is hard to believe they’ll ever be happy together. Like her clothes, nothing has changed for the better with this argumentative couple by the time the credits role.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Bounty Hunter.
Is it hard to believe this couple was ever happily married? What seems to be Nicole’s main attraction to Milo? Do you believe by the end of the movie they will rekindle their romance? If so, what challenges will they face? If not, why?
How reliable is the relationship advice Nicole gets from her mother (Christine Baranski) and Milo gets from Teresa (Siobhan Fallon)? Do these women appear to have any past success with long-lasting love?
What clues made Nicole suspicious of the suicide conclusion? What details do crime investigators look for to help them determine the facts?