Directed by: Robert Luketic (The Ugly Truth)
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara, Rob Riggle
Robert Luketic’s Killers is one of the stupidest movies I’ve seen this year. When I say it’s stupid, I don’t mean it in the same vein that something like Marmaduke is stupid—though I suppose Ashton Kutcher isn’t too far removed from an anthropomorphic Great Dane. No, in the case of Killers, the film is more intelligence insulting, thinking it can get away with its stream of triteness and lazy plotting. The movie puts on airs of originality, but there’s nothing original about it.
The film trades in spy-movie clichés, but instead of using them as farce or spoof, as do Casino Royale (1967) and the Austin Powers flicks, we have a script that tries to pawn recycled junk off as straight-faced plotting. Most of Killers plays like a tale of espionage culled from half-assed spy movies and Tom Clancy novels, with Kutcher miscast as Spencer, a suave CIA assassin. Since it’s doubtful Kutcher could even pull off being in Spy Vs. Spy, we instead get Agent Dopey-O-Seven. He drives European sports cars, sneaks aboard yachts, blows-up helicopters and waltzes around shirtless—all in the name of liberty. That’s until he meets Jen (Katherine Heigl), a single professional type on vacation with her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara) in Nice. The two hit it off immediately and Spencer leaves his murderous ways to settle down and make an attempt at a normal life.
The movie then kicks forward three years. The doting couple are living the married life with Jen still none the wiser about Spencer’s past as a hit man—that is, until his former boss (Martin Mull) starts calling. Spencer quickly finds out he has a price on his head and that he must thwart a gang comprised of neighbors and co-workers who also turn out to be professional killers. The bulk of the movie is Spencer trying to deduce who hired half the town to kill him, with interspersed bits of fisticuffs and gunplay. All of it’s shoddy. The action scenes are of the Dramamine variety: Instead of exciting, the shaky-cam shots are merely incomprehensible and motion-sickness-inducing.
The payoff is even worse, since the film’s solution makes zero sense and doesn’t even hold up while the movie is running, let alone under any kind of scrutiny. The whole thing screams bargain basement. Kutcher and Heigl are far from draws, while the rest of the cast is made up of bad comedians and former sitcom support. It’s all a pretty maddening example of just how nonchalant and apathetic Hollywood can be when movies with this little spark, imagination or creativity make their way into the world. Rated PG-13 for violent action, sexual material and language.