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An action comedy that nearly renders the term an oxymoron, “Killers” is devoid of suspense and laughs.
Doing no favors for stars Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher or the audience, this tired attempt to blend romantic comedy with thrills makes one long for the days when films like “Charade” showed how it could be done.
The gorgeous Heigl is improbably cast as Jen, a miserable, recently dumped young woman who resorts to traveling with her parents (Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara) for a vacation in the French Riviera. Immediately upon settling in Nice, she meets the shirtless, hunky Spencer (Kutcher, who with his torso revealed at every opportunity is the real sex object in the movie), and a quick courtship ensues, with Jen unaware that her wooer is not the corporate consultant he claims to be but rather a professional killer working for an unnamed agency.
Cut to three years later, with the now married couple settled into a quiet suburban life and Spencer apparently having given up his former profession. That is until his 30th birthday, when suddenly he becomes the target of numerous assassination attempts.
Predictable chaos ensues, with the couple bickering about their marital situation even while violently grappling with a series of bad guys (and gals) whose surprising identities are supposed to be shocking.
The film, reportedly Lionsgate’s most expensive production to date, is elaborate in its European location shooting and copious amount of choreographed mayhem. It’s too bad that such effort hadn’t been expended on the script, which contains nary a single amusing line of dialogue.
Instead, the film’s idea of humor is to make a running gag of Jen’s alcoholic mother’s downing drinks at every opportunity.
Despite his impressive physique, the boyish Kutcher is less than convincing in macho mode, and Heigl (on a cinematic downhill streak since “Knocked Up”) is reduced to dithering reaction shots. Even comic veteran O’Hara is unable to wrest laughs from the lame material, though Selleck manages to retain his dignity because of his stolid underplaying.
Opened: Friday, June 4 (Lionsgate)
Production: Aversano Films, Katalyst Films, Lionsgate
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman, Lisa Ann Walter, Casey Wilson, Rob Riggle, Martin Mull, Alex Borstein
Director: Robert Luketic
Screenwriters: Bob DeRosa, T.M. Griffin
Producers: Scott Aversano, Ashton Kutcher, Jason Goldberg, Mike Karz
Executive producers: Christopher Pratt, Chad Marting, William S. Beasley, Josie Rosen, Peter Morgan, Michael Paseornek, John Sacchi
Director of photography: Russell Carpenter
Editors: Richard Francis-Bruce, Mary Jo Markey
Music: Rolfe Kent
Costume designers: Ellen Mirojnick, Johanna Argan
Rated PG-13, 100 minutes
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