There’s not a lot about Killers that makes any sense, which is bizarre considering the idea makes so much sense on paper. Maybe not from an artistic standpoint, or when viewed with any shred of logic, but in terms of extorting the public out of nine dollars and fifty cents a ticket, there hasn’t been a non sequel released in the last year which makes more sense. A Narcissus-looking Ashton Kutcher as a hitman who moves to the suburbs with his wife (Katherine Heigl) a sheltered, unwitting accomplice with a mustached, overprotective hard ass father and an overbearing alcoholic mother who live right down the street. This must have crushed in the initial pitch meeting. It‘s a Jerry Bruckheimer wet dream. A romantic action comedy set partially in France, with killing, sex, corndogs, nagging and a suburbia rife for veiled consumerist commentary. But, alas, movies are more than just a pitch. And as movies go, this one sucks.
It’s an issue of sense and a problem of no one involved having any. Sure, Ashton Kutcher has a sweet six pack, but everyone knows he’s way more likeable when he’s acting goofy. Sure, Katherine Heigl was on Grey’s Anatomy and in Knocked-Up, but she wasn’t the name coaxing the asses in those seats. Sure, the idea of a conservative nag finding out her husband is actually a trained killer seems perfect for a mediocre, money-making, mass-appeal rom-com, but you then need to go back and write a script that at least vaguely makes sense. Actually, strike that. It doesn’t need to make sense; it just needs to follow its own rules.
Earlier this year, Tim Burton gave us a slightly above-average Alice In Wonderland, a Lewis Carroll story which makes absolutely no sense, except that it kinda does amidst all its nonsensical chaos. There’s order. All the goofiness, the unabashed eccentricity add up to believable characters making sense out of the fantastical Wonderland. There’s no order in Killers. Major storylines are shoehorned in because they play better on back cover plot descriptions. Characters change allegiances because it concocts a fake sense of depth and perhaps more importantly, eats up time. And the opening titles are fast-paced, brightly-colored and sleek because it sounds good in a pitch meeting. Well, movies are more than just a pitch. And as movies go, this one sucks.
Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) is a blah trained by the blah blah blah with a license to blah. Killers never bothers telling us who or what Spencer is because that would require actual work after the pitch meeting to create more than just blah. But I digress… While working as a blah in France, Spencer meets Jen, a newly-single twenty-something on vacation with her parents (Catherine O’Hara, Tom Selleck). He’s immediately attracted to her because of her blah, or perhaps her big blahs, and she’s equally down with him because he blahs like a real blaher. They soon get married and move to Blahtown, USA where they settle quietly into a life of hanging out and blahing each other while her parents drink and skeet shoot down the street. It’s also Spencer’s birthday (he turned blah), and after one of the party guests tries to kill him, Jen finds out he was/is a blah. Plenty of stolen cars, high speed chases and nagging follow until, as if by some holy decree from Blah himself, Killers stunningly tops itself with a preposterous and campy big reveal that will literally force you to channel Weekend Update’s Seth Meyers and say: Really??? Really, Killers, you thought that was a reasonable idea?
Ever listen to a six year old girl tell you a story about a princess? Sure, the idea might not be the most original Malibu Stacy Dream House on the block, but people seem to like that sorta thing. There’s mass appeal. But as soon as the six-year old plows into the second act, the wheels on the bus stop going round and round. Suddenly, the princess can fly. Not sure why she didn’t use that power ten minutes ago when she was warding off the troll, but okay, she can fly. And then the mighty prince’s boat gets attacked off the coast of Bolivia, bizarre since Bolivia is inland, but maybe that’ll be explained later. Oh and the princess might be pregnant. And the prince’s best friend tries to kill him out of nowhere. Comedic genius Martin Mull is involved too. Obviously, not used properly. And then they all live happily ever after. The end. That dreadful, winding, illogical foolish little musing thought up by a six year old girl is Killers, and even as little kid stories go, this one sucks.
I derived no entertainment from Killers, save one laugh Catherine O’Hara forced out of me. God bless her heart, she was trying. So were Tom Selleck and Rob Riggle and even SNL cast-off Casey Wilson, but movies are more than just pitches. They need heart and motivation, two leads that have chemistry. They need a reason for existing beyond just making money. For Killers, there is no reason. There is absolutely no way anyone working on this film was doing it for anything more than cashing a paycheck. Even a brief perusal of the script would have exposed glaring plotholes, egregious wait--what?’s, and a few but-I-don’t-see-why-he-didn’t-just’s. It’s a matter of cents, specifically, how you shouldn’t spend them on this mess. There’s no pride here, there’s no effort, there’s just a pitch, greenlit too soon by idiots who think one bland, least-common-denominator idea will equal a big payday. Maybe they’re right. Maybe people will go out in droves to see this movie. I hope not because, as movies go, this one can suck my blah.
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