THE HUNTING PARTY (Richard Shepard). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (September 14). Rating: NN
The Hunting Party feels like two different movies. One is a smart comedy about TV reporters. The other is a fact-based story about those reporters hunting a war criminal (a thinly veiled Radovan Karadzic) in postwar Bosnia. The two never blend, and only a few of the scenes generate either laughs or tension.
The horrors-of-war scenes kill the comedy dead, but making Richard Gere 's former TV war correspondent a burnout because his love died in the killing both trivializes and sentimentalizes those horrors.
Gere keeps the implausibility high by playing his character as a charming rogue. Jesse Eisenberg , the rookie journalist along for comic relief, comes across like the geek in a fratboy comedy. Only Terrence Howard , the burnout's former cameraman, is at all convincing in his part. Croat actor Ljubomir Kerekes is effectively menacing as the war criminal.
The ending, when it comes, is abrupt and unbelievable, given the weight the story places on these characters as journalists.