Bullets fly and jokes land with a thud in “Killers,” a deadly dull hubby’s-a-hitman farce that alternately resembles a knockoff of 2005’s “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and a rehash of “Knight and Day” avant la lettre. Playing a suave secret agent and the suburban wife who’s shocked to discover his profession, respectively, Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl generate zero heat, and the Cote d’Azur swank of the opening reels proves inadequate to raise the temp. Lionsgate’s foray into studio-film territory favors copious product placements while failing to sell fans of either star on a formula that has passed its expiration date.
Whether “Killers” could’ve possibly enlivened such a DOA premise is a question rendered pointless by the pic’s crushing familiarity and quick-cut style. Director Robert Luketic (“Legally Blonde”) is too busy shuffling to the next location — or even the next shot — to take sufficient pleasure in any one moment.
Vacationing in the French Riviera with her nosy folks, newly dumped, Maalox-chomping Jen Kornfeldt (Heigl) goes on the rebound after encountering shirtless hunk Spencer Aimes (Kutcher) in a hotel elevator. We learn long before poor Jen does that Spencer’s pecs weren’t sculpted only at the gym. Deep-sea diving for explosives when his crush isn’t looking, Spencer acrobatically re-emerges on land to plant his high-powered package under the hull of a helicopter (boom!), then meets Jen for drinks at sunset.
Turns out the agent isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Ashamed of her control-freak dad (Tom Selleck) and alcoholic mom (a wasted Catherine O’Hara), man-hungry Jen tells Spencer that Mr. Kornfeldt is a “Russian pervert” who has been hitting on her. But soon enough the two gents meet proper and bond over a round of French countryside skeet-shooting, Daddy proving conspicuously adept with a rifle.
Cut to three years later, and the now happily married couple has a starter mansion in suburbia, where Spencer hopes to trade his life of international espionage for one of backyard barbecues and block parties. But, one by one, the goofy neighbors turn out to be ruthless assassins with their gun sights set on insubordinate Spencer, who’s unable to keep his wife from entering the line of fire — whereupon she does an awful lot of screaming.
By the time a pregnancy test reveals Heigl’s knocked-up character has more at stake than her wits, “Killers” has long since lost its heartbeat. The requisite high-speed car chases through gated community cul-de-sacs are thoroughly unimaginative, as is the twist that not only skeet-shooters will spy from a mile away.
Cool Kutcher fares better than hysterical Heigl, but that isn’t saying much, while the supporting actors — including Martin Mull, hiding behind dark shades as Spencer’s humorless boss — are left to stew in their stereotypes.
Tech credits are visually splotchy and aurally overbearing.