| Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler star in this guilty pleasure joy ride. They make a cute bickering couple.
Milo Boyd (Butler) is an ex-cop turned bounty hunter hailing from Queens, N.Y. He has a gambling addiction and owes a female loan shark $11,000. He exhibits his selfish, immature and stubborn traits.
His ex-wife Nicole Hurley (Aniston from “Love Happens,” “Marley & Me” and “Friends”) is a highly motivated investigative reporter for a daily newspaper. She displays a strong and independent exterior.
Nicole was ticketed for a traffic accident involving a policeman on horseback. She misses her court date to pursue a lead in a murder cover-up initially ruled a suicide. Milo jumps at the chance to earn $5,000 to bring her to justice.
He apprehends her at a race track and locks her in the trunk of his baby blue convertible. They end up spending the 4th of July weekend together.
A subplot involves Overland Park native and Shawnee Mission West graduate Jason Sudeikis (“Saturday Night Live”). He plays Stewart, a fellow journalist at the paper. He made out with a tipsy Nicole at the office Christmas party and keeps asking her out for a real date.
Milo and Nicole are pursued by two New Jersey mobsters, a sharpshooting hit man who owns a seedy tattoo parlor and Stewart.
There is plenty of action to go with the comedy and romance.
The movie, directed by Andy Tennant (“Fool’s Gold,” “Hitch” and “Sweet Home Alabama”) and written by Sarah Thorp, too often resorts to Nicole excusing herself to the bathroom to plan an exit strategy.
The couple’s marriage problems seem to stem from always putting their careers first. The most emotionally touching scenes occur during a candlelight dinner and afterward when they adjourn to the honeymoon suite at Cupid’s Cabin. They express their true feelings for one another and admit to making mistakes. The big surprise is where they eventually share a passionate kiss.
Butler is honing his acting skills in this genre after starring opposite Hilary Swank in “P.S. I Love You” and Katherine Heigl in “The Ugly Truth.” Aniston has a sparkling personality and a self-assuredness that makes her extremely watchable. The great chemistry between them is evidenced by bantering conversational foreplay and physical humor when their bodies are in close proximity.
Besides Sudeikis, the stellar supporting cast includes Christine Baranski (“Mamma Mia!” and “Chicago”) as Nicole’s cabaret singing mother, Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as the bail bondsman, Siobhan Fallon (“New in Town” and “Baby Mama”) as the receptionist, Cathy Moriarty as the mob boss and Carol Kane as the bed and breakfast proprietor.
There are lots of scenic shots of Atlantic City. The movie satisfies audience expectations of fun and laughter, making for an enjoyable date night outing.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"