June 18, 2010

Movie Review: Killers (2010)

killers4_largeAs I left the theater after a screening of Killers I was asked if I liked the movie. Yes, yes I did like the movie. I was then told it had a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which was true at the time but it has now risen to a robust 16%. Upon hearing this I reactively went into a bit of a defensive mode. I was not about to crown it a great film or anything, but I liked it and I immediately felt the need to defend it. As the conversation ended and I walked away I must admit to feeling a little bit silly. Why? Well, I shouldn't have gotten defensive over liking the movie, the beauty of these things is the way they can affect people differently. What it comes down to is that I enjoyed Killers.

On the surface Killers is just another romantic comedy that tosses in some action, it is nothing we haven't seen before. However, I did find it to come at the material from a slightly different angle. While the screenplay made sure to play everything towards the middle, the tale was ever so slightly different than what I was expecting. It is subtle considering how middling the entire thing is, but it is there. Think of it as a waveform. If you look at the image below, it can be seen to represent a good movie and a bad movie. A classic, well-regarded is represented by the top form, it offers a lot of variety and doesn't keep to the beaten path. The bottom wave form represents this movie, as you can see it is more of a straight band, the variety has been cut off with the bulk left to carry the weight. This does not mean it is a bad movie, just don't expect as much from it.


Killers opens with a young woman on vacation in France with her parents. Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) is a recently single young woman out with her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara) and not just a little embarrassed about it. In any case, she bumps into the man of her dreams, Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). However, Spencer has a secret, he isn't the strapping corn-fed guy-next-door that he seems to be on the surface. Of course, we the audience know better having seen Spencer working a mission at the outset of our story.

 Be that as it may, the couple hit it off and after a whirlwind romance, the two are married and we fast forward a few years down the road. Spencer and Jen are living the dream, nice house, good neighborhood, successful business, you know the drill. Spencer has been out of the game since their initial meeting and all is well and good. However, as often happens with these types of tales nothing is as it seems and when you think you are out of the game is just when the game play actually begins. Before you know it killers are coming out of the woodwork gunning for Spencer, his secret is out of the bag, Jen is beyond angry and bullets and arguments abound.


Yes, there is nothing truly new to be found here, some of the jokes fall flat, some of the action is dull, and some of the performances fall short of the mark. Still, there is enough all around energy and there is good chemistry between Kutcher and Heigl to help carry it.

With as mediocre as a lot of this is, I still found myself smiling. What I liked was the that different angle on the story. Considering that Kutcher's Spencer is a secret agent for the government you would expect there to be some focus on his past, what his missions were, and why he is being targeted now. All of those elements do come into play, but are not really what the focus is all about. This story is about their relationship.

I like that instead of focusing on the bad guys and the action this is all about Spencer and Jen getting deeper into their relationship, dealing with their secrets and shortcomings and becoming better people for it. Is it deep and philosophical? No, this is not the sort of movie to look for for any great insight. It is just a fun movie that does not take itself too seriously and is all about having some fun.


The lead performances are for the most part pretty good. Katherine Heigl is decent, although at times she goes a little too broad and borders parody, still works. Kutcher, on the other hand, turns in good work. He may not be the best actor, but he does a good job of finding roles that fall in line with his abilities, he has a good on screen charisma and can do the action and the comedy convincingly.

Then there is Tom Selleck, yes Magnum. He does not have a lot to do, but it is good to see him again and the mustache is in full effect almost becoming its own character. As for his other half, Catherine O'Hara takes big screen alcoholism to the next level. She is great.

Yes, this is an action film too. Some of the bits seem a little ho-hum, but there are a couple of segments that worked quite well. First is the big sequence with Rob Riggle that involves fisticuffs and transitions to a car chase. The other is the but in the office, good fist fight.

Bottomline. Not great, for the most part forgettable, but still an entertaining diversion that made me smile, laugh, and feel a little silly for doing it. So what, we all need to remember it is all right to be entertained by mediocrity (just not all the time).




Post a Comment