November 17th, 2014

KILLERS (2010) **

Katherine Heigl tries to get over her breakup with her boyfriend by going on vacation to Nice with her parents (Catherine O’Hara and Tom Selleck). There, she meets the man of her dreams (Ashton Kutcher) and they quickly fall in love and get married. Three years into their wedded bliss, a bunch of hired guns try to kill them. Of course, Kutcher forgot to tell her that he is a retired assassin. In between dodging bullets, they argue and fight like a married couple and have to decide if their relationship is worth saving.

I freely admit Rom-Com movies aren’t my cup of tea. Killers isn’t exactly Earl Grey either. Director Robert (Legally Blonde) Luketic seems to think that having a married couple bicker and argue while someone is trying to kill them is funny and he runs that joke mercilessly into the ground. His handling of the action sequences is competent at best, although I did like the scene where a chick got impaled on deer antlers; the best of its kind since the original Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Part of the problem is that it’s hard to buy Ashton Kutcher as an assassin. Kutcher is at his best when he’s playing a goofy stoner type of character. Here, he’s out of his depth trying to play a debonair man of mystery. Heigl has a tendency to grate on my nerves, but she’s okay playing a goofy comedienne in the vein of Goldie Hawn. She doesn’t have much chemistry with Kutcher, although considering the script; they really weren’t given much to work with.

Catherine O’Hara and Tom Selleck are fun to watch as Heigl’s parents. They’re easily the best part of the movie. Selleck in particular gets a couple of laughs, and it’s a shame he doesn’t get more roles like this to show off his comic timing.

AKA: Kiss and Kill.

THIS MEANS WAR (2012) ** ½

Chris Pine and Tom Hardy star as two secret agents who botch a big operation and get demoted back to desk jobs. Looking for love, Hardy goes on an online dating site and meets Reese Witherspoon. That same day, she bumps into Pine, and agrees to go on a date with him. When Tom and Chris find out they’re dating the same girl, they try to play it cool. Eventually, they begin competing for her affections by putting her under surveillance and tracking her every move.

This Means War has a very simple, almost one-note premise. In lesser hands, it could’ve really been a chore to sit through. However, Mc (Charlie’s Angels) G imbues the flick with a sense of style and fun. That’s not quite enough to make it completely work, but it definitely has its moments and is a great vehicle for Pine, who is quickly proving he can have a career outside of playing Captain Kirk. (Speaking of which, I thought it was kind of cool seeing him teamed up with Tom Hardy, since he played Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis.)

Basically what we have here is Spy vs. Spy remade as a Lifetime Movie. Sure, there are plenty of lame scenes, but there are also some genuine laughs too. It’s definitely better than the usual Rom-Com claptrap. While the more traditional Rom-Com scenes fall flat, McG handles most of the action sequences well enough (there’s a pretty funny paintball scene). However, the finale is weak and feels rushed and incomplete.

The chemistry between Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon is quite good and they have a couple of funny scenes together. Witherspoon has considerably less chemistry with Hardy though. He sort of seems out of his depth in this sort of movie, but you’ve got to at least give him credit for trying to branch out of the mega-intense roles he’s known for. It’s Chelsea Handler though who gets the most laughs as Witherspoon’s best friend. She probably deserves her own spin-off movie.

AKA: Target. AKA: Black and White.