Action comedies with a squeeze of romance are nothing new. Ever since True Lies stormed to the top of the box office in 1994 they have been trickling their way into production, but this year has seen a surge in activity.
The Bounty Hunter and Date Night have already taken a shot at grabbing an audience but quickly lost their grip at the cinema. Now it is time for Killers.
Directed by Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde), Killers is a classic tale of opposites attract. Play-it-safe Jen (Katherine Heigl) is on holiday with her parents in the south of France when she bumps into Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) – a handsome spy on a mission to kill.
With his objective complete, Spencer decides to ditch his jet-setting job in pursuit of a life of normality, all the while keeping it hidden from self-confessed geek-magnet Jen.
The film takes place three years later, with his career still a secret and the two now married living a blissful suburban life. That is, until Spencer’s old boss tries to lure him back into business, most of the supporting cast try to kill him and, of course, the truth comes out.
The simple premise may sound fine, but when it is stretched out over an hour and a half it is obvious that the film is built on bad foundations. Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin have produced a script that rushes in parts and stalls in others, leaving us with a lot unanswered.
Throughout the entire second act the final twist is hinted at, making it more of a kink when it is eventually revealed. Even then there is a lack of explanation and a trail of death and destruction that is simply shrugged off. When we do know what is happening the film swings to the other side of the spectrum – everything running up to this point is plagued with predictability.
Besides some comic relief sprinkled in by Jen’s boozy mother (played by the ever-fun Catherine O’ Hara), the film is light of laughs. Heigl rescues it from being a complete travesty by being given moments to show what a capable comedienne she can be but even here the gags rouse nothing more than smiles.
Despite its shortcomings Killers does have its moments of charm. Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty) and Alex Borstein (Family Guy) are among the supporting cast who add a little sparkle into an otherwise limp comedy.
Kutcher also spends most of the first act topless, allowing many female viewers to concentrate on the work he has been doing off screen rather than what he is doing on screen.
Overall, Killers is a disposable film that skims over marriage in extreme conditions. If you like your rom-coms with explosions on the side there are worse places you can venture but with the much-hyped Knight and Day just around the corner, my advice would be to hold fire.
Killers is out now