Heigl and Kutcher killing us softly in “Killers”
Has Hollywood forgotten how to make a good romantic comedy? “Killers” is the latest on an ever-increasing list of very mediocre releases this year, including “Leap Year,” “When in Rome,” “Bounty Hunter,” “The Back-Up Plan,” and “Letters to Juliet,” that contain little to recommend them. The uneven “Date Night” benefited significantly from the comic timing of stars Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. They had the kind of chemistry that the characters Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl portray in “Killers” can only dream of possessing.
Give the film props for starting off in the picturesque Nice, France, where supposed superspy/assassin Spencer (Kutcher) is on assignment and meets recently dumped Jen (Heigl) who is traveling with her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara). The couple falls in love and marries, Spencer giving up his dangerous profession but without telling his bride about his past. Fast forward three years the couple now lives in the suburbs among some pretty wacky neighbors. To give you a taste of the film’s lack of wit or originality, a running joke has the normally splendid O’Hara as a meddling lush of a Mom-you know, as if just the act of boozing all hours of the day is so laugh-out-loud funny…or original. Selleck is the lone interesting character-mysteriously intimidating behind his signature 80s-era mustache.
There’s potential here to satisfy those who love action films and those who enjoy light-hearted fare with a happy ending. But “Killers” quickly and savagely kills off both audiences. The action scenes are rote and unimaginative and as for Heigl, well, it is time to really question her abilities. A former Mormon, Heigl may have sparkled in 2007’s highly successful (and overrated) “Knocked Up,” but with “The Ugly Truth” and “27 Dresses” (both box office successes but artistic duds), “Killers” is the lethal third strike in the romantic comedy genre.
Think a talented actress can’t lift mediocre material? Sandra Bullock has made a career of it.
As for guy-next-door Kutcher, he’s as one-dimensional as the scripts he chooses and a good ensemble helps him considerably. (See this year’s fun but forgettable “Valentine’s Day.”)
Call us critics jaded, but “Killers” puts the “kill” in “kill-joy.” Try it and see for yourself.
Rated PG-13 for violent action, sexual content and language.