Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Killers" takes a bullet but it's not "The Bounty Hunter"



Killers (2010)
100 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: C +

Not screened in advance for critics usually spells stink bomb. But before you judge and say “another rom-com bites the dust,” and while not being the greatest thing since sliced bread (or "True Lies" or "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"), you could do a whole lot worse than "Killers," innocent of more watchability than the last crappy product of the Hollywood machine. 

Katherine Heigl plays another Type-A female lead (what are the odds?), her gorgeous self but uptight and single, now named Jen, who tags along with her parents on a vacation to France. First, there's the meet-cute between Jen and Spencer (Ashton Kutcher), sexy, charming, and without a shirt (is this “Dude, Where's My Shirt?”) who's really a hit-man on assignment. Then they get married and happily settle into suburban life. Three years later and Jen's domestic bliss gets a reality check: “Oh my gosh, my husband has a license to kill!” and there's a $20 million bounty to kill Spencer. 

This generally entertaining rom-com-with-guns shoots blanks at first with some lame banter and overplayed comic situations, but Killers gets more amusing and fun as it runs along. The murder-for-hire plot is pretty hazy and director Robert Luketic's lively action sometimes too violent even for a lighthearted action-romantic-comedy hybrid. Do you hear a 'but' coming? But it gets by on the mere presence and sheer likability of Heigl and Kutcher, who got the comic chemistry down as a couple. Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara are funny (and more than welcome) as Jen's parents, Selleck with his mustache and O'Hara sneaking alcholic drinks for the camera every chance she gets. 

Although "Killers" makes for an amiable timekiller, Heigl really needs to relieve herself from this rut, after "Knocked Up," of playing hysterically neurotic/ditzy/rule-making ninnies before it kills her potential. Her next picture should be “How Miss Heigl Got Her Groove Back.” 

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