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Killers

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Killers
Released on Friday, Jun 18 2010

> Interview: Katherine Heigl

Blame it on Martin Brest's Midnight Run, because ever since Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin bickered their way from East to West Coast, the "action-comedy" has never been far from Hollywood's radar. Killers, starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, is the latest rolling off the factory line. It's better than The Bounty Hunter, with the two leads making a more charming couple than Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, but it's still difficult to view Killers as anything more than throwaway fluff.

Reuniting Heigl with her Ugly Truth director Robert Luketic (who has a few massive clunkers on his resume), the story dispatches single gal Jen to Nice for a reluctant vacation with her parents, played with laid-back calm by Tom Selleck and a liquor-fuelled buzz by Catherine O'Hara. Jen meets handsome stranger Spencer Aimes (Kutcher) and a whirlwind romance ensues.

They soon marry and lay down roots in suburbia, but Spencer has a secret, revealed earlier to the audience though not to Jen: he's a contract killer. Walking away from his past, Spencer sets up a design firm and attempts to enjoy married life and bond with his reluctant father-in-law. When a mysterious $20 million bounty is slapped on his head, he must fight off attacks from cash-hungry assassins buried within his neighbourhood. Jen is swept along for the ride and has to deal with the revelations about her husband's past.

Killers is never particularly funny and the action sequences aren't shot with much verve or originality, making it redundant as an effective "action-comedy". It's also hamstrung by an unimaginative script and gaping credibility issues with the lead two characters. Heigl is set up as nerdy, awkward and works in some kind of IT job. Her mother mocks her for dating unattractive men, something that's hard to believe even if she does crack out a "robot voice" on dates. Kutcher may have beefed up for his part, yet you feel his domesticated 007 would come up short against Daniel Craig or Matt Damon's secret agents. Selleck and O'Hara fare a little better, parachuting in when the movie's flatlining to inject some life into proceedings. It's Selleck's formidable facial hair that prompts one of the few genuinely funny moments (at Kutcher's expense) towards the end of the movie.

There's potential to explore the central characters with some depth, but the idea of couple hiding secrets from each other and how much it's really possible to know someone is brushed aside as the high concept hook when it could have been the catalyst for a fresh look at marital relationships. Killers never challenges its leads or brings much new to the genre sandbox it's playing in, meaning it's practically dead on arrival.


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