Thursday, January 30, 2014

Killers (2010) [PG-13] **+

A film review by Claudia Puig for USAToday.com on June 8, 2010.

Killers is a lifeless romantic action comedy that might as well have been concocted in a broken beaker, given the paucity of chemistry between the lead actors. Katherine Heigl plays Jen, a woman trying gamely to get over a break-up. The strange way she decides to do this is to take a trip to the romantic French Riviera with her overbearing dad (Tom Selleck) and dipsomaniac mom (Catherine O'Hara).

In Nice, she meets Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) in an elevator and essentially follows him down to the beach like an eager puppy. He inexplicably finds that so delightful that he asks her out. They fall swiftly in love and get married. If you buy that premise, then maybe the rest of the story won't seem so preposterous.

As it turns out, Spencer is a hit man who had been dying to go straight for reasons that are never made clear. Along comes Jen with her down-to-earth ways and alleged nerdy smarts and he gives up the glamorous assassin's life to move to suburbia and get a boring day job.

But, in a few years, unsavory types from his former life come after Spencer. What comes next is both ridiculous and tedious, simultaneously banal and far-fetched. A movie in which anybody — neighbor, friend or colleague — could be a murderer should provide at least a modicum of suspense and excitement. But this dull romp doesn't seem to grasp that concept.

Heigl and Kutcher have negligible romantic chemistry. Ditto for Selleck and O'Hara. Laughs built around flatulence and vomit hardly belong in a story about a married couple running for their lives.

Director Robert Luketic seems to be going through the motions in this comedy, not coming close to his conventional yet charming 2001 hit Legally Blonde. Everything about this movie feels forced, and worst of all, glaringly unfunny. Luketic — and Heigl's — last film, the contrived The Ugly Truth, is suddenly looking better by comparison.

When Jen finds out that her husband was a professional assassin, her first response is: You couldn't just have tranny porn like (a friend's husband). You had to be a spy.

Huh?

Jen's hard-drinking mom has one comment after her daughter becomes romantically involved with Spencer: The important thing is you're finally with somebody attractive.

Are we supposed to believe that someone who looks like Heigl is so geeky that she has never dated someone good-looking? Why does Hollywood continually try to pass off such unconvincing characterizations on audiences? Shades of Sandra Bullock in All About Steve.

Even the action scenes are beyond dull. It's hard to imagine a similarly plodding siege of extended car chases and unexciting near-escapes.

Killers is dead on arrival: miscast, horribly paced and murderously uninvolving. [Puig’s rating: * ½ out of 4]

Labels: action, comedy, romance, thriller

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