Recovering from a sudden break-up, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) reluctantly joins her parents on a trip to the French Riviera where she meets the dashing Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Three years later, her seemingly impossible wish has come true: she and Spencer are living the ideal suburban life - until the morning after Spencer's 30th birthday when bullets start flying. Spencer has never told Jen he was once a spy. And now his past is catching up with him - and her.
Review by Louise Keller:
Lacking the easy charm of Date Night and Knight and Day, when reality morphs into the incredible, Killers is far from the knock out we hope for. The combo of the divine Katherine Heigl and the beefed up Ashton Kutcher works nicely, as does the incongruity of Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara as the in-laws. So what went wrong? The storyline and script lack credibility, but more than that, Robert Luketic's direction misses the light, crisp fun the situations require, leaving us saddled with a questionable tone in Nowhereland, after we have made our stake in the characters but are let down in the execution.
I must admit I rather enjoyed the first half hour of this action rom com, when the leading players are established. The scene is set as we meet Katherine Heigl's Jen, sandwiched between her overly protective dad (Tom Selleck, eminently watchable) and laid-back, alcohol-loving mum (Catherine O'Hara, amusing) on an airplane on the way to the South of France. In no time at all, Jen bumps into a scantily dressed Spencer (Kutcher's abs are a sight to behold) in the Nice hotel lift (Bonjour, he says amiably; those muscles take some up keep, says she) and the scene is set for their first date. Our anticipation is rife. The mishaps, embarrassments and unravelling of those first few days are the film's greatest pleasures. The distinctive coastline and beauty of some of the world's most beautiful places are a nice distraction too.
The first leap of faith we are asked to take is an uncomfortable three year jump, by which time, Jen and Spencer (who has told us he'd 'kill for a normal life') are living a married, suburban life of bliss. Then comes the moment (after a surprise birthday party) that springboards the film into an awkward tone as it twists the premise into an acute angle that jars. Suddenly, as Jen is confronted by a wild new reality in which her husband is a killer, she spits out ridiculous lines like 'What shall we do now; maybe couples counselling?' The mishandling of these scenes and others (like forming a 'trust circle') that are played for laughs, reduce the film to its lowest ebb.
Luketic overdirects and as a consequence there's a hammy feel about some of the performances. Kutcher does a great job of seducing us (and Heigl's Jen), while Heigl wins us with her unnerving feminine guiles, despite the impossible situation in which her character is placed. We can't help feeling cheated by the inept script and situations in which these likeable characters have been saddled. The laughs are all too few, as are the rewards in this high stakes, low results film, which leaves us feeling somewhat cheated.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Killers is a film whose time has passed; a might-have-been movie from the 80s, when a comedic actor might have pulled it off. Now, it is a concept masquerading as a full blown movie, in which the story is undercooked but the delivery is overdone. It's a shame that talented Aussie director Robert Luketic couldn't rescue more of the material, but at least there are a few elements that resonate with his wry comedic touch. Like the action scene in which an old work-buddy turns up at the house to kill Spencer, which turns to dry, black comedy.
Katherine Heigl is intelligent, likeable, attractive and warm. But never an Ashton Kutcher fan, I still can't get over his pudding bowl haircut which is either perversely nerdy or pretentiously juvenile. Either way, it doesn't work (nor does he, hair notwithstanding) for a character which is a subspecies of 007. It's neither over the top funny (like a Mike Myers, say) - nor credible.
The basic story of a secret agent falling in love and giving up the deadly spy game would have been good fodder for a full on romantic farce - not a half hearted rom-com in which nobody is ever sure whether to take it seriously or not. Not, would have been my advice. Ham it up, lay on the most bizarre possibilities. But not even when there is a plot opportunity to engage in high value farce does the film take it; when Spencer is the subject of a massive contract and everyone wants to kill him first. So the film plods on as a middling, inoffensive attempt at escapism.
Even the gorgeous Riviera locations are thrown away and the young target market will probably ignore the film's most precious assets: Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara, who between them steal the film as far as I'm concerned. Selleck, despite looking his age, still has that screen authority. His lightly handled gravitas is intact, and he makes an intriguing father to Heigl's Jen. O'Hara meanwhile, a longtime favourite of mine especially (but not exclusively) in Christopher Guest's hilarious spoofs, is irresistible as Jen's drink loving mum. The best part is that this running gag is handled with care and never turns sour. Here's to her.
Published December 2, 2010
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KILLERS: DVD (M)
CAST: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara
PRODUCER: Scott Aversano, Jason Goldberg, Mike Karz, Ashton Kutcher, Chad Marting, Christopher S. Pratt, Josie Rosen
DIRECTOR: Robert Luketic
SCRIPT: Bob DeRosa, Ted Griffin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Carpenter
EDITOR: Richard Francis-Bruce, Mary Jo Markey
MUSIC: Rolfe Kent
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Missy Stewart
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 29, 2010
SPECIAL FEATURES: .
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
DVD RELEASE: December 2, 2010