04 January 2011



Starring Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara, Rob Riggle. Written by Bob DeRosa & Ted Griffin. Directed by Robert Luketic. Release: 4 June 2010. Lionsgate, 96 mins., Rated R

Plot: Jen finds out husband Spencer is actually a ex-spy, a little something he left out during the whole relationship thing, when their neighbors begin shooting at them to collect a bounty.

Ah, KILLERS. Universally regarded as a suckier MR. & MRS. SMITH, it's a belief that isn't entirely justified. Yes, there is that whole married spy angle thing, but it doesn't really follow the above mentioned title at all, nor resemble it. First, the small little technicalities: Ashton's Spencer chooses to get out of the spy life, and does so for the three years he and Jen (Heige) are married until his old boss continually makes attempts to contact him. Second, Jen isn't a spy, but she does have raging mood swings that makes her amazingly complacent with the whole scenario. And third, none of the action scenes or the comedy come close to achieving the pitch perfect tone of the Doug Liman movie. Oh, and a fourth note: although Katherine Heigl actually doesn't come off nearly as annoying as she does in the trailer, Ashton is entirely miscast as the Brad Pitt-like character, lacking in the charm and brutality of Mr. Smith.

The news that KILLERS isn't MR. & MRS. SMITH PART II is actually a good thing, and it means that the title can be reviewed on its own merits now. Ultimately, however, the underwhelming and all around below average production doesn't lend itself to much of a review aside from simply saying the often made comparison isn't quite necessary, and Heigl doesn't entirely ruin the picture. There are surprisingly some funny parts from a expectantly low-laugh film with the revelation that their neighbors are trying to kill them. The performances of Heigl's parents, provided by Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara, is hilarious, and the family talk in the final act was just the right amount of awkward and crazy. I can see where both main actors would be attracted to their roles: for Heigl, she can step out of the romantic comedy lead she has often been playing and become more of a wild card character who changes moods rapidly and doesn't just stay on the sidelines as a damsel in distress - her character has opinions and isn't afraid to share them, nor is she afraid to point a gun. For Ashton, Spencer allows him to pretty much be Brad Pitt, the dark and brooding assassin who doesn't want that life anymore, doesn't want the burden on his shoulders. Plus: action sequences, which as far as I know Ashton hasn't had a lot of, and I'm sure that alone was appealing for him.

Overall, the best thing that can be said about KILLERS is that the hearts of everyone involved were in the right place, it's simply the result of misfortune that the movie itself is far too underwhelming and just not good enough to give credit to their goal. Therefore, KILLERS falls into the category of "if you're interested, give it a rent [no blind buys], but otherwise, you're not missing anything noteworthy."

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