Dir: Robert Luketic. US. 2010. 98mins
A flat-footed attempt to mix spy action with romantic comedy, Killers spends too much time doting on its stars’ good looks and way too little being genuinely funny or exciting. But with tabloid regular Katherine Heigl and Twitter favourite Ashton Kutcher headlining, the Lionsgate production might still end up attracting enough youngish fans - of both sexes - to just about recoup its reported $60m-plus budget.
One minute the film is a spoofy spy romp, the next a bantering romcom, the next a semi-serious action thriller.
The release’s opening weekend in North America produced a middling estimated gross of $16.1m. So a lot will depend on whether the independent distributors that have licensed rights for other territories can turn the film into an international over-achiever like Heigl’s The Ugly Truth (which did 57% of its total internationally) or Kutcher’s What Happens in Vegas (63% outside North America).
Kutcher’s Spencer is a smooth CIA hitman when - during a glamorous opening sequence shot in Nice - he meets Heigl’s recently-dumped computer tech Jen. Without revealing his past, Spencer gets a regular career, marries Jen and the two settle down in suburban America.
Three years later, ‘the firm’ tries to drag Spencer back into the spy game, leading to a round of car chases and shoot outs that disturb the neighbourhood and test the couple’s marriage.
The problem isn’t so much the familiar scenario (2005’s Mr and Mrs Smith had a similar set-up and this summer’s Knight and Day sounds somewhat comparable) as the fact that director Robert Luketic (The Ugly Truth) never finds a unifying tone. One minute the film is a spoofy spy romp, the next a bantering romcom, the next a semi-serious action thriller.
The leads don’t have the skill to pull things together either. Both are OK with the romcom moments but neither is believable wheOne minute the film is a spoofy spy romp, the next a bantering romcom, the next a semi-serious action thriller when the action kicks in.
Productions companies: Lionsgate, Aversano Films, Katalyst Films
North American distribution: Lionsgate
International sales: Lionsgate
Producers: Scott Aversano. Ashton Kutcher, Jason Goldberg, Mike Karz
Executive producers: William S Beasley, Josie Rosen, Peter Morgan, Michael Paseornek, John Sacchi
Screenplay: Bob Derosa and T M Griffin
Cinematography: Russell Carpenter
Production designer: Missy Stewart
Editors:Richard Francis-Bruce, Mary Jo Markey
Music: Rolfe Kent
Main cast: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara