Ever since she bad mouthed Knocked Up, her one hit both commercially and critically, Katherine Heigl has seemed to have karma bite her cinematic career. 27 Dresses was a hit but not a major one while The Ugly Truth was an unmitigated disaster both at the box office and critically. With her final appearance on the show that listed her into fame, Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl is at an interesting point in her career. She’s no longer a successful television actress dabbling in film; she’s a full time movie actress. As such a film that’ll be a hit would do wonders for her career, which needs one at this point, to establish commercial and critical bona fides on her own as opposed to as one of the stars of a hit television show. Killers isn’t that film.
Jen (Katherine Heigl) and Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) meet cute on vacation in France. She’s fresh out of a relationship with a man her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara) didn’t approve of. He’s a CIA assassin on assignment. As they meet cute and fall in love, he decides to throw it all away for the nice suburban life with her. We meet them three years later and they’re the typical suburban couple. She’s in marketing and he works for a remodeling contractor, with all the accouterment that married life entails. When his old life comes back to haunt them, they find themselves on the run and trying to find out answers on who’s trying to kill them.
The film has a good opening and setup but it’s in the execution where it all goes wrong. The film takes most of the first two acts to setup Spencer and Jen in their new life. But it doesn’t capture the magic it’s opening 10 minutes has between the couple. They have a quirky chemistry together that works well and sets the film up for so much more than it turns out to be. Kutcher and Heigl work well together and a regular romantic comedy together would probably end up being a much better film because the two have great chemistry with one another. They’re both from similar situations (television actors who left a popular show and are now film actors) and it elevates absolutely lousy material into something that approaches watchable.
And that’s the problem with the film is that it takes a tried and true formula, the spouse with a secret past as a killer/secret coming back to haunt them, and does nothing entertaining with it. It’s formulaic and utterly predictable, including the film’s attempt at a twist ending. It’s also boring, too, as we know what’ll happen but the film doesn’t give us a reason to care. Kutcher and Heigl are wonderful together, and we care about them based on that alone, but Robert Luketic doesn’t do anything to go beyond that. Luketic also brings out the “shaky cam” for the film’s chase sequences sporadically but doesn’t use it well. The camera just randomly shakes and makes the scene more confusing, as opposed to giving it a sense of urgency like it is intended to.
Urgency is also a problem because it takes the film nearly acts to get to the premise of a former CIA assassin and his wife on the run from people hired to kill him. The film seems to be going for a longer running time with a more involved story about a couple in suburbia but is cut way too short in the third act. There’s a lot of action and suspense that could’ve been had but the film takes the short way instead and wraps it up neatly relatively quickly. The film expects to invest so heavily in these characters early on but the payoff isn’t nearly as good as it ought to be.
Killers wasn’t screened by Lionsgate for a variety of reasons, but the main one is because it is not that good.
Director: Robert Luketic Notable Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Usher Writers: Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.