5-Word 365 #285 – Killers

Why do I keep doing this to myself?


Dude, where’s my sniper rifle?

Government assassin Ashton Kutcher is on a mission in Nice when he meets and instantly falls for Katherine Heigl, on vacation with her parents. He quits the life, they get married and settle down. Three years later, his old job comes back to haunt them after a contract is put out on his head. Can their relationship survive both the gunfire and the truth?

From Robert Luketic, director of The Ugly Truth (which, in case you don’t feel like clicking that link, I despised) comes this ridiculously high-concept romantic-action-comedy featuring what I can only describe as two sociopaths in love. Romantic comedies that also appeal to guys – or, conversely, action movies that also appeal to women – are the Holy Grail of the movie world but Luketic is no Indiana Jones.

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you can’t get invested in the characters, and the leads here are so thinly sketched as to be barely one-dimensional. First, we have Katherine Heigl as Jen, a woman who is both smart and beautiful (seriously, she just gets better looking in every movie) but also – SHOCKER – unlucky in love. Why is she unlucky in love? I have no idea. It’s never explained. Then there is Ashton Kutcher as Spencer, or Jason Bourne if he swapped the amnesia and moral compunctions for a floppy fringe and a house in the suburbs. When asked why he was recruited into the curiously unnamed government agency that kills lots of people, his response is because he had no family. What?

Can she get the whole bottle in that glass?

Jen’s parents get off even worse. Her father, played by Tom Selleck’s still luxurious moustache, is a rich pilot (okay) and her mother, played by comedy legend Catherine O’Hara, has but one defining characteristic: raging alcoholism, which is treated as an uncommented-on running sight gag.

Between these character problems and the ridiculously abrupt, deus ex machina ending, I expected better from Ted Griffin. This is the man who wrote Ocean’s 11 and Matchstick Men, and created the classic but short-lived series Terriers. Here, he rewrote Bob DeRosa’s original screenplay but between them they seem to have forgotten the romantic and comedy parts of the equation.

The action is shot reasonably competently, but without any flair or excitement. Despite the thousands of rounds of ammo expended there is never any sense that Jen and Spencer are in imminent danger. Neither one gets so much as a scratch. There is no escalation in the action scenes either. It’s just fight, car chase, shootout, fight, car chase, shootout, rinse, repeat. Nothing more than a series of loosely connected moments between our heroes and their oddly expendable friends and neighbours.

Do I really have to do another crappy romantic comedy?

For a supposed romantic action comedy, Killers is none. Katherine Heigl needs a new agent.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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