Killers


In Killers, Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) is a gorgeous spy with a perfect body who hangs out with hot models and drives fancy cars when he's not killing bad guys (shirtless!) but longs to give it all up because the bad guys aren't always bad and suburbia and normalcy is starting to sound awfully good. Just as he's coming to this conclusion, he meets Jen (Katherine Heigl), an awkward, neurotic, freshly dumped woman who's on vacation in Nice with her parents; her father, who is played by Tom Selleck and his lush moustache, is ridiculously overprotective, and her mother, the giddy Catherine O'Hara, is a bit of a Chardonnay lush. They don't miss a chance to remind her how normal and boring she is; she wouldn't even bungie jump with her ex, for God's sake! And her ex had a "womanly" keister.

Despite a brainless meet-cute in an elevator while Jen is eating Maalox and unconvincing chemistry that's apparent even in the first thirteen minutes of the movie that was streamed online, Spencer and Jen fall in love after a romantic yet gentlemanly courtship. They move to the 'burbs, he starts a business, she does something with software, and it's all good. There are the freaky and annoying neighbors, chatterbox BFFs (including the hilarious Rob Riggle and the far less so Casey Wilson), a perfect house, and lots of hot sex. Spencer remains retired from duty until he gets a postcard from his former boss, and suddenly literally everyone around him is trying to kill him. It's a good thing he's prepared for just such an event, with guns and money hidden in the house! Naturally, Jen is flustered, angry, scared of guns, and, um, everything you'd expect her to be; she goes back and forth between wielding guns and kicking some butt and being horrified and angry at her lying husband.

Killers


True Lies, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and plenty of other action/comedies have used the same story line, more or less, whether it's a spy who's living a double life or a couple who are both assassins undercover. But True Lies had the benefit of Cameron's direction and the wacky pairing of Ahnold and Jamie Lee Curtis, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith had sex appeal with stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Doug Liman as the director, Killers has none of that. (It could even be argued that Jolie is actually a better action heroine than a serious dramatic actress.)

Kutcher's not a particularly good actor, but he avoids the spazzy What Happens in Vegas-type of acting he's known for and manages to reel off some of the funnier lines without too much trouble. He's not a particularly believable action hero either, but again, that's not the point. He's the dream guy – impossibly hot, earnest, and protective, but he also has faith that when the time comes, Jen can grab the gun and save him just as easily as the other way around. I mean, we don't really believe him, but you know, it's nice. However, he still tends towards the wooden end of the acting spectrum. Except in Dude, Where's My Car? That was awesome.

I really hate the girl-on-girl hate that's heaped on Heigl, but I can't see her in anything without thinking how much better and funnier Elizabeth Banks is. Banks' timing is snappier, and her awkward and neurotic shtick is more endearing. Heigl is brittle and looks as if she's in pain, even when she's smiling. I don't know why she's universally disliked as a person, but she's certainly not a good comedic actress. She's definitely better in the action scenes or when she's just being plain mean, but only marginally.

The most interesting scene is perhaps when Spencer and Jen, fresh from a variety of gun battles, car chases, and near-death experiences, happen upon the block party in their cheery suburban neighborhood. Everything looks menacing; the stilt-walker looms over them as they pass through the crowd. Assassins could be anywhere. They don't know where or who their enemies are.

This should be a recipe for disaster. It really should. But it's not. It's the summer movie equivalent of Cheetos – totally unnatural, bad for you, possibly cancerous, but a guilty pleasure to indulge in with your girlfriends, possibly while drunk. The characters are goofy and exaggerated, the writing is uneven although definitely funny on occasion, and the action scenes are ridiculous. Maybe my eyeballs are just blistered from the usual summer suspects, and I never though I'd write this, but I enjoyed Killers in its over-the-top silliness.