Killers (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
9Sep/100

Killers (2010)

Andrew INDIFFERENTKillers is not one of the worst movies I've seen this year.  It would have had to provoke some kind of emotional reaction to reach that position.  The combined talents of Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher will not rival Bogey and Bacall (or Tango and Cash for that matter) in this or any other life.  What Killers functions as is a waste of everyone's time in an pleasant, focused, and utterly empty way.

The film follows a curious trend that has popped up in the multiplex lately.  A man and woman get into a relationship, one doesn't know that the other is a hit-man/spy/etc. and wackiness ensues when the organization responsible for employing the shady one demands it's comeuppance.  The formula recently appeared in Mr. and Mrs. Smith but worked because of the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  The story idea itself is not strong enough to support a film, as evidenced by Knight and Day, The Bounty Hunter, and now Killers.

Ashton Kutcher drew the role of the killer, Spencer Aimes, this time.  He's on assignment in Paris when he bumps into Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl).  She was recently dumped and isn't out looking for love when, lo and behold, she runs into Spencer in the elevator when he's prepping to go out for a swim.  We hang out for almost a full minute while Jen, Spencer, and Spencer's abs get acquainted with each other using halting glances and total silence.  No joke is attempted, just a lot of standing around and breathing.  I was praying for something to break the awkwardness but that ended up being a Pyrrhic victory, as I had to now listen to them talk.

This moment sums up their level of interest pretty well.

Spencer drones on uninterestingly about whatever he happens to be looking at as Jen shrieks, stammers and screams her way through every line of dialogue.  Why these people married each other we will never know as the story montage's its way through a few years of life until they're married.  Then Spencer is asked to take another case, he refuses, and he has to defend himself and Jen from their friends and neighbors who have spontaneously developed amazing killing skills.

We don't have to look much farther than the casting to see where this was a doomed project to begin with.  Kutcher is an attractive man, no doubt about it, as Heigl is a similarly attractive lady.  But in Killers Kutcher plays Spencer as if he's popping the world's least exciting bag of popcorn.  He just stares and speaks so flatly that it actually made me miss his stab at "acting" in The Butterfly Effect.  But while I used to understand and somewhat enjoy the appeal of Kutcher; Heigl is, and continues to be, like an alien to me.  She's done nothing but whine about her career and, as evidenced by the tenor of annoyance she developed during Killers, it seems as though she needs to put up or shut up.  I've not seen her in anything that indicates the presence of a skilled actress, and her constant shrieking through Killers does not help that case.

While Kutcher and Heigl fail in the leads they are assisted by a supporting cast that usually knows what they're doing.  Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara play Jen's parents and are a welcome presence every time they're on screen.  Tom and Catherine are both old pros in Hollywood at this point and, while not the best in the biz, do inject some easygoing charisma into their relationship that's lacking in Spencer and Jen's.  Finally there are a few amusing moments with Rob Riggle, a funny man who (after this and Furry Vengeance) should think of different ways to up his profile.

There really is no cause to frame a shot like this.  It's a wide screen.  Use it.

Visually, Killers is barely worth commenting on.  Person A fills half the screen, Person B fills the other half - camera switches back and forth over the shoulder shots as they talk until a medium shot containing the two of them gives one character room to leave the frame.  No interesting fight scenes, humdrum chase scenes, and a sense of "yadda yadda yadda" as the film pads out it's running time to the required hour and a half.

I'm being hard on it, but Killers is on the high end of a very low spectrum.  Despite my crushing apathy towards most of the production I only had the feeling of genuine distaste when Heigl was onscreen, and felt some relief when O'Hara and Selleck came back.  It's not the film that will kill the "my husband/wife is an assassin" trend, but as far as popcorn flicks go they could have done worse.  Not much worse, mind you, but worse.

Killers (2010)

Directed by Robert Luketic.
Written by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin.
Starring Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara.

Posted by Andrew

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