Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Killers" Review

The first fallacy of “Killers” is that Ashton Kutcher could play a spy. Yes, the same Ashton Kutcher that looks unsure if he’s holding his camera correctly in the Nikon ads. The second fallacy is everything else.

From top to bottom, the movie is just a structureless mass of contrivance and cluelessness, so ineptly executed and chaffingly unfunny that the awful-looking trailer actually oversells it. For starters, the courting of co-star Katherine Heigl is stuffed uncomfortably into the first thirty minutes, during which Kutcher plays it cool and takes off his shirt, and Heigl embarrasses herself by acting half her age.

The character she plays is a grown woman apparently so embarrassed to be seen on vacation with her parents that she tells Kutcher on their first date that her nearby father is a Russian pervert stalking her. She’s an neurotic teenager trapped in the body of a thirty year old, but it’s not like Kutcher is any deeper. Their behavior is often so adolescent that it wouldn't surprise me to learn “Killers” was actually a hastily rewritten “Cody Banks” script.

In all seriousness, there is one lame franchise to which it bears more than passing resemblance—“Meet the Parents.” Heigl’s father (Tom Selleck, in his first live-action feature film role in over a decade) is a virtual carbon copy of the hard-ass, maybe-not-so-retired CIA patriarch Robert De Niro portrayed (more memorably) back in 2000. His wife (Catherine O’Hara) is also an unoriginal caricature—The boozy grandma. It’s one of those readymade faux-quirky character traits that seems to be in constant circulation despite so rarely being used to any effect.

And as if the clichés Selleck and O’Hara wear like badges of honor weren’t enough, they’re never off-screen for more than 10 minutes because of Heigl’s weird unresolved dependency issues. But here’s the really strange part; after what feels like only a few short days, she and Kutcher inexplicably decide to get hitched, with the latter vowing to give up his dangerous secret lifestyle once and for all.

Fade out. “3 Years Later.”

Careful, you might get whiplash with the speed at which “Killers” makes a hairpin turn. The entire rest of the film is about a married couple facing a series of mysterious and unexciting assassination attempts with so little plot for point of reference that at the 90 minute mark, I wasn’t sure if the film was ending or halfway over (ending—Mercifully). It turns out that during the three years the audience isn’t privy to, our heroes have led a “Truman Show”-esque fake life, meeting new friends and neighbors that turn out to be sleeper cells that when activated, leap into clumsy, inarticulate killing mode.

There’s also some obligatory relationship tribulations peppered throughout for good measure—Some suspicion of infidelity and a potential pregnancy—But nothing that even momentarily alleviates the profound chore it is to watch these dull characters perform their lame fight scenes and deliver their insipid dialogue. To top it off, Kutcher and Heigel have about as much chemistry as a pair of Tom Sellecks.

“Killers” is maybe the worst-told film of the year. It’s impossible to discern from the wreckage who exactly is at fault, but the script (which surprisingly, is partly credited to Ted Griffin, who wrote “Matchstick Men” for Ridley Scott and “Oceans Eleven” for Steven Soderbergh) is nothing short of a disaster. The weak performances and bad direction only rub salt in the wound.

The network of miscalculations on display in "Killers" is so vast that ‘fallacy’ doesn't account for half of it—Failure is a better word.


1 comment:

  1. Didn't expect anything less from this movie! Gonna avoid, for obvious reasons...