Starring Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman, Alex Borstein, Lisa Ann Walter, Casey Wilson, Rob Riggle, Martin Mull, Mary Birdsong, Letoya Luckett, Michael Daniel Cassady and Usher Raymond IV.
Screenplay by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin.
Directed by Robert Luketic.
Distributed by Lionsgate Films. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.
There are many things which will color whether or not you buy into the action/romantic comedy Killers, but perhaps the most important litmus test is also the simplest and most central question: Can you buy into Ashton Kutcher as a suave, tough superspy assassin?
Honestly, I never really could wrap my head around that.
This isn’t even necessarily meant as a slap at Kutcher’s acting. He is just fine as the romantic lead here, with his pretty boy charm you can see why a woman would fall hard for him over a chance meeting in the French Riviera. I just never bought him as a tough, calculating licensed killer.
The filmmakers ask for a leap of faith that their star can’t quite surmount. (Though I have to admit, I did buy Kutcher as an assassin slightly more than I bought Martin Mull as his CIA superior.)
Then again, one asks why Kutcher’s character has to have two such polar opposite dimensions.
The recent wave of violent action romantic comedies (such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Bounty Hunter and the upcoming Knight & Day) make for a bunch of uncomfortable fits. What are they trying to do? Create chick flicks that guys will be willing to go to? Or drag women to action films?
This odd splicing of genres instead has a tendency to alienate half of its audience throughout.
It’s a very schizophrenic way of making a film.
Of course, Killers has the added problem of not being very good as either an action film or as a romantic comedy. In fact, both sides of the story are very clichéd and kind of stupid.
Which brings to mind this simple question: Did Katherine Heigl really quit Grey’s Anatomy for this?
Heigl plays Jen (or “Just Jen” as Kutcher’s character calls her, a tease on her nervousness upon their first meeting), a gorgeous loser magnet who has recently been dumped by her latest dork boyfriend and ends up going on vacation in Nice on the French Riviera with her oddball parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara). She meets a gorgeous shirtless guy named Spencer (played by Kutcher) who shows her around while blowing up a drug dealer’s helicopter.
It should be said that these early scenes work the best on the film – the action is a little more exciting, the romantic tension a little more justified and frankly the Nice scenery is just stunning.
The two fall in love, get married and move home to California – all without him revealing his past as a killer to her.
A few years later, on his thirtieth birthday and right as they are finding out she is pregnant, his past returns in the form of a $20 million-dollar contract on his life. Jen, who is neurotic about everything, is totally freaked out by all the violence going on around her. Therefore, the squabbling couple must go on the lam while it turns out just about everybody they have known in their lives were hit men.
I don’t know, somehow, her bumbling into the assassin business hardly seems like a rom-com formula rife for success. Can true love be rekindled as they mow down everyone in their path? Is bloodshed a viable alternative to couple’s therapy?
The answer, unfortunately for everyone concerned, turns out to be a rousing “who cares?”
When the audience really doesn’t care all that much whether a couple gets kissed or gets killed, a movie really may have to rethink its whole plot and tone.
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 4, 2010.