Ashton Kutcher is one of the myriad producers of “Killers,” which perhaps explains a line of dialogue delivered by his co-star Katherine Heigl describing his character’s “physical godlike perfection.” He’s a good-looking guy, to be sure, but “perfection” seems a bit extreme.
Certainly it’s a word one would never think of in connection with the movie, except perhaps in a phrase like “perfectly awful.” This action rom-com is a disaster so complete that no matter what happens, it will easily earn a high place among the year’s worst pictures.
The script by Bob DeRosa and T.M. Griffin is like a dreadful rip-off of “True Lies.” In a 25-minute first act set in Nice, Jen Kornfeldt (Heigl), on vacation with her control freak dad (Tom Selleck) and alcoholic mom (Catherine O’Hara) after being dumped by her boyfriend, meets Spencer (Kutcher), a studly CIA assassin in town to blow up a helicopter. For some reason he’s attracted to her, though she’s a total ditz, and three years later they’re married; he’s given up his undercover job and holds down a construction job, never having told his wife about his former life.
But on his birthday, no less, he’s suddenly attacked by a passel of people—close friends, co-workers and neighbors—and he and Jen, shocked at the revelations about his past, are on the run trying to stay alive and figure out why they’re suddenly targets. To complicate matters, Jen thinks she’s pregnant and takes time out to take an over-the-counter test to find out.
The idiocy of this plot is almost beyond belief, with a last-act revelation that’s both nonsensical and ugly, but it’s topped by the utter lameness of the dialogue and the sloppiness of the many fight sequences and a car chase so clumsily choreographed it’s hard to believe it was done by professionals. Of course, the quieter sequences are terrible too—Robert Luketic’s flabby direction certainly doesn’t help. Kutcher barely gets by an a romantic lead and action star, but he actually looks good beside Heigl, who’s forced to play a woman so stupid it’s easy to understand why her former boyfriend dumped her but not why any other man would be interested in her. And they have absolutely no chemistry.
The supporting cast offer none. Selleck keeps a perfectly straight face—which in this case must have been easy to do—and O’Hara does her familiar shtick to little effect. But they remain at least a modicum of dignity, which certainly can’t be said of such folk as Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman, Alex Borstein, Lisa Ann Walter and especially Rob Riggle, all of whom are required to humiliate themselves. One might imagine that Martin Mull, as Spencer’s agency boss, might be able to engender a chuckle, but even he brings nothing to this party.
The sole redeeming element of “Killers” are the French locations in the initial half-hour, which are nicely shot, travelogue-style, by Russell Carpenter. Otherwise, the picture looks chintzy, and sounds it too, thanks to Rolfe Kent’s generic score.
“Killers” wasn’t screened for the press, and if there were any justice in the world, it wouldn’t be screened for anybody else either.