After “Sex and the City II“, the Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Hiegl vehicle, Killers was the movie I was most looking forward to this summer. Unfortunately, it like Sex II, fell flat! The plot was promising. Girl (Jen) meets dream boy (Spencer), gets married and has blissful suburban Life, only to discover that Mr. Perfect has a secret Life as a CIA assassin and has a $20 million contract on his head. After seeing the trailer, I was picturing the fun, bang ’em up action combined with hot sex of a “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” or a sort of one-sided “True Lies”. Instead the film wasn’t funny enough to be a comedy and too slowly paced to be a must-see action film. In addition, the chemistry between the stars was too lacking to make it hot as a romance.
I have never been much of a Katherine Heigl fan after her overreaction to the Isiah Washington situation and her subsequent years of ingrate behavior towards Shondra Rhimes, who literally created her career, during her stint on “Grey’s Anatomy.” And this film didn’t change my mind, as she was just ok. But to be fair, the script didn’t give her a lot to work with. Ashton is gorgeous but Katherine is not attractive or more importantly, since looks aren’t everything, confidently sexy. I just didn’t buy that he would give everything up for her. The jokes were just not funny and illicit nervous rather than side-splittin’ laughter. Martin Mull was badly miscast as Kutcher’s CIA boss, as he lacked the seriousness that his role needed. Mull is just too associated with offbeat comedy roles to be believable as someone that the government would trust to defend our interests. And Catherine O’Hara was totally wasted! While she was hilarious in the first scenes, I found the whole schtick of having her repeatedly down whole bottles of liquor and wine more disconcerting and sad, then funny. This comic device would’ve worked best if it had only been used once. Tom Selleck seemed like he was in another movie since he was the most interesting and believable character.
After an exciting opening in Nice, the movie begins to drag, which is a shame as it had such potential to be an exciting action flick. Instead of having Spencer retire from the CIA when he meets Jen, it would’ve been a far better idea to have him still an active assassin leading a double Life. This would’ve made for a far more exciting film with Kutcher in and out of a variety of dangerous situations. Instead, too much time is spent on the mundane aspects of his married Life. It is inexplicable why the focus was not on the action. Kutcher as a sexy loving hubby/James Bond would’ve been the way to go! (The main reason for any TGATP gal to see the film is to check out what that lucky Demi Moore is getting. Yowza!)
Although I didn’t completely hate it, I say wait a few months as Killers will be much better as a Friday night Netflix rental, than it was as a big screen view.
A note: Much has been made by other critics of the lack of advance press screenings for this film, but Lionsgate did hold some courtesy screenings on Friday morning. It, however, is never a good marketing move to not hold advanced press screenings. It makes my colleagues in the mainstream press mad cranky and they inevitably think you have something to hide, thus labeling your film a stinker before it gets out of the gate!