‘Come on, is this really necessary?” That line spoken by Jennifer Aniston in the painfully lifeless “The Bounty Hunter” perfectly sums up my opinion of her latest bomb.

"Come on, is this really necessary?” That line spoken by Jennifer Aniston in the painfully lifeless “The Bounty Hunter” perfectly sums up my opinion of her latest bomb.


It isn’t necessary. And it’s not just because there’s zero chemistry between Aniston’s investigative reporter and Gerard Butler’s bounty hunter.


That they are a fizzle is just the beginning of this dopey rom-com’s problems. Woes deepened by director Andy Tennant, who is more into his “Fool’s Gold” mode than his infinitely more appealing “Hitch” mode.


It’s the casting in this rambling road picture that’s the real killer, though. Aniston and Butler simply don’t have the range and charisma to carry a film that’s equal parts action, romance and comedy.


The premise – and it’s a thin one – has Butler’s down-on-his luck Milo Boyd (Butler) chasing after a $5,000 bounty placed on the head of his bail-jumping ex-wife, Nicole Hurly (Aniston).


The script, written by Sarah Thorp (“See Jane Run”), is full of similar contrivances, not to mention an unfunny subplot involving a nerdy journalist (Jason Sudeikis) pursuing Nicole.


As Aniston runs around in spike heels, tight tops and micro-minis showing off her spray-tanned assets, Butler gives us the same one-note rom-com guy he was in “The Ugly Truth” – uncouth and unfunny. Both actors need new agents.


Tennant and company leave you desperately praying for the comedy gods to swoop down and inject some chemistry and humor.


The closest thing to a savior is Christine Baranski’s all-too-brief turn as Aniston’s mother, a gussied-up boozy Atlantic City lounge songstress who counsels her daughter via phone.


Beyond that, Aniston and Butler’s road trip to Manhattan, via Atlantic City, goes absolutely nowhere.


Most of the time, all we get is the requisite stroll down memory lane, as the two bickering lovers snarl and claw their way toward the inevitable happy ending. Well, at least somebody’s happy.


Reach Dana Barbuto at dbarbuto@ledger.com.


THE BOUNTY HUNTER (PG 13 for sexual content including suggestive comments, language and some violence.) Cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler and Christine Baranski. Directed by Any Tennant. 1 star out of 4.