Animadversion: The Killers – Review by Kamran Jawaid & Farheen Jawaid

The following is the unedited version of the review, published in iMAGES on the 13th of June 2010

TheKillers

Spy Killers in Tranquility

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

It started out ok enough, I guess, and then became the stuff most low-flying high-concept movies turn into all year long: A flavorless comedy-actioner, sandwiched between a good first fifteen minutes and an unimaginative slap-on ending. The meat of this burger is deftly fried in bombastic, yawn-inducing, action.

In the "Killers", Ashton Kutcher, beefed up as a super-spy on a kill-a-minute mission in France, runs into a desperate-to-please Katherine Heigl in an elevator. Mr. Kutcher, Spencer he’s called, shirtless in a diver’s short, utilizes the prowess of French language – he speaks French, she doesn’t – and woo’s the recently dumped Ms. Heigl vacationing with her high-class suburban family (yeah, right).

Ms. Heigl’s family consists of a worriless, constantly tipping mother (Catherine O’Hara, earning an easy paycheck) and a near-grumbling, blunt, high-neck father (a scene selling, if un-amusing, Tom Selleck).

A dinner-date, a dance and a ripped evening dress later – there is no nudity or implied sensuality in the movie, thank heavens – we jump three years later to the suburban home of Spencer and Jen, quietly surrounded by stereotypical, morning jogging couples and wild-life hunting co-workers (Rob Riggle, playing Spencer’s buddy-buddy boss stands out with a neatly drafted role). Naturally Spencer left his organization – they don’t say which organization, but Wikipedia tells us its C.I.A – and apparently post his wedding vows, forgets to tell her about his body-strewn past (14 kills to be exact, as he tells Ms. Heigl post a pointless, yet ok made car-brawl scene). So when killers (local people with firearms) start jumping in, left, right and center in the film’s unforgiving and long second half, Ms. Heigl couldn’t be more surprised. I wasn’t. Heck, Ms. Heigl looked surprised when the script abruptly made her pregnant. I wasn’t.

"Killers" fresh start had a touch of old-Hollywood in it. Maybe even a glimpse of Hitchcock (or maybe I was fantasizing), with a bumbling, motor-mouth, logical heroine and a sense of spy-mystery. As the word-count – and the body-count – starts rising in the screenplay, the story becomes a dumb-disaster stapled together by bullets and iron-pressed by car-rundowns (the movie’s final revelation can be seen a mile away).

Even as disaster happens around him, Mr. Kutcher’s sloppy haired retired-spy was automatically likable, while Ms. Heigl was charmless and plastic. In her second collaboration with director Robert Luketic (The Ugly Truth, 21, Legally Blond), she goes from anxiously bubbly to anxiously anxious, in a suburban type-A fashion.

Written by Bob DeRosa and T. M. Griffin, "Killers" could have been a "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (of 1941, Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery), instead it became a tamer "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (of 2005, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie).

The movie stars: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Rob Riggle, Katheryn Winnick and Kevin Sussman; Is directed by Robert Luketic and cinematographed by the Russell Carpenter (Titanic, True Lies).

Released by Lionsgate, "Killers" is Rated PG-13, for suburban-wrecking, bloodless violence and almost family-friendly humor. Tom Cruise can top this one easy in three weeks.

Second Opinion

By Farheen Jawaid

The pragmatic use of having a good looking cast exchanging charming dialogues and an opening that impresses as well as its amiable trailer, sets the mood for many entertaining things to come. All those things, which years of watching movies has taught us to automatically make red lights go off in the head. This instantly brings an old saying to mind “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” and “Killers” is not an exception.

“Killers” stars funny guy Ashton Kutcher as a suave 007 type agent. All buffed up, he falls in love with a type casted straight-laced overtly unadventurous simple girl-next-door Katherine Heigl, who comes holidaying in Nice, France with parents, the brusque Tom Selleck (shining like a new coin) and alcohol loving Catherine O’Hara. Naturally from them she runs and hides through her date with Mr. Kutcher as he too stealthily gets rid of his assignment. So, soon Kutcher leaves his cloak-and-dagger career in the name of love and lays root in the suburban area with now wife Heigl.

Seemingly good this far. Then things start going from charming to dull in moments. “Killers” coming from director Robert Luketic (Legally Blondes and Monster in-Law), known for his no brainer candy floss romantic comedies, delivers close to no comedy in the movie (except the fresh and interesting start).

But the question is: “Is killer a time waster?” To most it will be. But I won’t mind it on a rainy night with nothing better to do.

The published version can be found at:

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/images/spy-killers-in-tranquility-360

and

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/images/second-opinion-360

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