Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Rom-Com Genre Hits A New Low With ‘The Bounty Hunter’; ‘Diary Of Wimpy Kid’ Should Score With Kids, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Will Remain Top Draw

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Rom-Com Genre Hits A New Low With ‘The Bounty Hunter’; ‘Diary Of Wimpy Kid’ Should Score With Kids, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Will Remain Top Draw

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Rarely has any great movie been created as the result of a brainstorming session by a studio executive. The result is usually along the lines of crap like Forces of Nature and the more recent When in Rome. Andy Tennant, the director of this weekend’s new rom-com low, The Bounty Hunter, starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, explained the origin of the project to Variety:

I was brought onto the project by Neal Moritz and then [Columbia] said, ‘Jennifer and Gerry were seen in Toronto together. They’re hot. They would make a good onscreen couple.’

I think Ingmar Bergman said the same thing about Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson when casting Scenes From A Marriage. The Bounty Hunter follows the “wacky” adventures of a law man in pursuit of his bitter ex-girlfriend. The trailer, posted below, showcases the clever witticisms by screenwriter Sarah Thorp, such as:

Aniston [nasally]: You’re a bounty hunter!!?

Butler [overly excited]: Yup. And I’m gonna take you to jail!

When asked why she chose to do The Bounty Hunter, Aniston said that the project just came to her and she loved it. She also lauded her character’s “sauciness, friskiness and passion.” That’s nice. At least the movie has one legitimate fan.

bounty_hunter_posterTHE BUZZ: Awful. No critic — and I do mean: no critic — even remotely likes this tired rom-com. Peter Howell of The Toronto Star blasted the movie’s predictability:

“There are two parallel stories: Milo’s and Nicole’s on-again, off-again relationship, and those guys with guns who keep shooting at them. We know exactly how the first one is going to end and we don’t care about the second.

In The Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert writes:

“I stared with glazed eyes at The Bounty Hunter. Here is a film with no need to exist. Among its sins is the misuse of Jennifer Aniston, who can be and has been very funny, but not in dreck like this. Lacking any degree of character development, it handcuffs her to a plot of exhausted action comedy cliches — and also to a car door and a bed.

And Dan Kois of The Washington Post has nothing but contempt for the flick:

The filmmakers clearly believe that their tangled storyline is madcap and delightful, but each new complication just serves to make us feel as though the blessed end of the movie is creeping further and further away.

So it looks like Alice in Wonderland is going to be #1 again, seeing that crappy rom-coms haven’t been doing so hot lately (unless they’re based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks).

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The bestselling children’s book series, Diary of  a Wimpy Kid, is known for its irreverent sense of humor and sparse illustrations. While animation would seem to be the ideal way to translate the stories to the big screen, the book’s author Jeff Kinney told the LA Times that he wanted the challenge of adapting the books into live action. He said:

I felt like animating the movie would have been the safe way to go. I think what’s exciting about bringing the story into live-action is that it adds emotional content that’s missing in the books. It’s very moving on top of being funny. The audience can really become invested in the friendship between Greg and Rowley. I don’t think if you used my cartoon drawings in a film it would’ve packed that same punch.

diary_of_a_wimpy_kidTHE BUZZ: Pretty Good. The movie stands a much better chance at scoring with audiences, than the recently released, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, which was also an adaptation of a bestselling series of children’s books. That movie,  about a boy who discovers that he has the powers of a Greek god, suffered from the fact that it seemed like a repeat of the Harry Potter movies (and was also directed by Chris Colombus who helmed the first two Harry Potter movies). Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is a slightly fresher take on life from from a kid’s perspective.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips thought the movie would have been better if it had been animated. He writes:

Snot, I think, is funnier when it’s animated. So is excessively moldy cheese. Also: If some kid’s getting smacked around, it’s likely to be less painful if you don’t hear the punch or the slap; slapstick in general takes on a different, more clinical and humorless air when handled realistically, which is why “Home Alone” remains a low point in the history of hugely successful “family” comedies. So here we are with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hotel for Dogs director Thor Freudenthal‘s live-action feature film version of the Jeff Kinney books. Kids may love the movie, and even kids who love the books may like it. For me, though, an astonishing percentage of the books’ appeal has vanished.

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