The Killers, staring Aston Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, is Hollywood’s latest stab at satirizing American suburbia. An average American romance combines with good old-fashion espionage, where the typical block party turns into a playful shootout between assassins. Yet this movie is no Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Fixated more on the ordinary turmoil of young marriage than car-chases and conspiracy theories, the spy twist becomes just another joke in the movie, among peeing difficulties and marital bickering.
After being dumped by her geeky boyfriend, tightly wound Jen, (played by Heigl), goes on vacation with her parents to Nice, France. There she meets an Adonis-like Spencer (Kutcher), who manages to court her in between killing bad guys for Hollywood’s favorite organization, the NSA. He forebodingly neglects to tell his budding love about his profession. Spencer soon disavows his covert, violent ways to marry Jen and enjoy an ordinary life in the good old USA. His secret past comes back to haunt the happy couple three years later, when all the local assassins descend on their home to hunt down Spencer’s head for a massive bounty. Half of the movie’s humor lies in discovering the secret assassins, emerging from the most unlikely of neighborhood personalities.
The chemistry between Kutcher and Heigl seems ordinary and competent, not quiet legend making. Heigl plays the awkward and uptight every-girl, a character type that seems to be creating a niche for herself. Kutcher chills his usual giddiness, attempting to play the Hollywood leading man that can be both a killer and a charming helpful husband. The best performances by far come from Heigl’s overbearing onscreen parents, played by Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara. O’Hara smiles through the drama with her Maalox and booze always handy and Selleck is his usual brooding, mustached self, (the mustache becoming a character on its own). Most of the movie’s tension comes from the relationship with the in-laws, and poor Kutcher having to juggle impressing his father-in-law as well as fighting off a bounty on his head.
This movie finds redemption from boredom with its clear intentions. Marital humor always trumps action. Even while running for their lives, the characters never veer far from the typical arguments about what to buy at the grocery store. So beware viewers who saw explosions in the trailer and expected some action. You will get some of a different kind.
The Killers receive a PAR
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