Something was bothering me about Katherine Heigl for most of the way through Killers. There was something about her and her character’s relationship with Ashton Kutcher’s character that just didn’t ring true. At one point, it was all I could do to stay in my seat and not stop the movie to ask the dozen or so people in the cinema if any of them know what I was talking about. Her character, Jen / Jenny / Jennifer, either seemed far too old for Kutcher’s character, Spencer, or Spencer was far too young. As it turns out, they’re the same age in real life, which makes sense because in the movie, they look the same age, too. It was confusing the hell out of me.

Then it came to me. They look the same age. But they don’t sound the same age because Katherine Heigl sounds like Katey Sagal, the woman who played Al Bundy’s wife, Peggy, in Married With Children and that was what was throwing me out.

Unfortunately, this realisation didn’t happen until about 80 minutes in and while my mind had been elsewhere trying to figure out this conundrum, absolutely nothing of interest happened on the screen. Absolutely. Nothing.

Spencer is an assassin. Jen is on holiday with her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara). The two meet, fall instantly in love, Spencer packs in the killing but not before confessing his deadly secret to a drunken Jen who, yep you guessed it, falls asleep at the key moment. And I really can’t stress how instantly they fall in love. It’s more instant than instant coffee. They were strangers when I started eating a nacho and that nacho was still partially intact and full of crunch by the time they declared their undying to each other. Director Robert Luketic is clearly in a hurry. So much so, we need to dispense with motivation, continuity and establishing character. The thing is, Luketic is something of a King of the Guilty Pleasure. He has the awesome Legally Blonde and the not anywhere near as good but still pretty enjoyable Win a Date With Tad Hamilton under his belt. He should know what he’s doing.

Anyhoo, three years later, someone wants to get architect / designer / whatever Spencer back in the killing business, he ends up with a $20 million bounty on his head and everyone who Spencer and Jen had thought of as friends and neighbours is a potential assassin.

There’s lots here that’s supposed to be funny. Jen’s timid reaction to a gun is meant to be funny. Jen’s mom drinking bloody mary’s for breakfast is probably meant to be hilarious. The purpose of Tom Selleck talking about bushy moustaches is surely there to threaten the stitching on our sides and the whole idea of assassins in suburbia is clearly an attempt to necessitate the use of special knickers. It’s knowing, it’s post-modern, it’s sarcastic and it’s just not funny.

Kutcher and Heigl / Peggy Bundy have no on screen chemistry and in no two successive scenes do they remain true to their characters. Spencer is a $20 million dollar assassin, who bricks it against tubby contemporary. Jen is holding a gun like it’s a sweaty sock one moment and then happily pulling the trigger the next. It’s just a mess.

It comes close, but it’s not entirely without merit. The first action scene when a neighbour turns bounty hunter is pretty well done. But everything else has been done before and been done better and with more care and affection and originality and been done recently enough for us all to demand better.

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