Killers

 
Bland spy romcom mines violence, stereotypes for laughs.
  • Review Date: June 6, 2010
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Killers is a strange concoction: Murder is played for laughs, but since the film’s not very funny, how does that leave the body count then? Jen is such a caricature of a weak, immature woman, that she would be offensive if the movie weren't overall so lame. Still, the movie does attempt to explore the idea of honesty in a marriage, and its importance to making a relationship successful.

Positive role models

In a strange way, Spencer, the professional killer, appears most sympathetic of all the characters, perhaps because he appears genuinely interested in reforming himself. Jen, on the other hand, comes across pleasantly, if a bit superficial. Her focus after finding out that her husband is an assassin is on how she was misled, not that her husband is a killer. Plus, her squealing and generally immature behavior puts her squarely in female stereotype-land.

Violence

Consider the title: For a rom-com, Killers is laden with bone-crunching fistfights and guns-ablaze sequences (and their fairly bloody aftermaths). The lead character is an assassin, after all, and off the bat, he’s shown at his “job.” One character gets impaled by a chandelier (her remains are briefly visible); another’s car is skewered by metal rods at a construction site while he’s still in it (we don’t see his body).

Sex

Lots of sexual innuendoes; Heigl’s character is seen in her underwear. She and her husband flirt and kiss often. An older woman shows off her cleavage to a younger married man. Frank discussion of a married woman’s sex life.

Language

Not excessive, but “s--t” and “f--k” do pop up.

Consumerism

Logos for Ford, Ferrari, Maalox, and other products clearly visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking, plus one character who’s clearly a lush (and her drinking is played for laughs). Nearly every time she’s onscreen, she’s fixing herself a sizable cocktail. Another character passes out from knocking back too many drinks on her first date with a guy who, curiously, finds the whole debacle charming (only in the movies.). A few guests get drunk at a party, and one of them leaves the hosts wondering if he’s able to drive (though they let him go).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dull romantic comedy finds humor in the violence associated with being an undercover assassin. Characters shoot, stab, and strangle each other throughout the movie, which doesn’t shy away from showing the bloody consequences. The movie’s premise rests on the idea that a man hasn’t been completely honest with his wife about a big part of his former life, but that’s not explored. (Neither is the idea of killing as a profession.) There’s some swearing (including "f--k" and s--t"), but nothing over the top, plus several sexual innuendoes. One character drinks excessively (and she’s actually the funniest of them all).

What's the story?

After being dumped by her fiancé, Jen Kornfeld (Katherine Heigl) accompanies her parents to sun-kissed Nice, France, where she unexpectedly falls in love with the dashing Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Little does she know he’s a CIA agent specializing in assassinations, and that, in fact, he was “working” when they met. But after meeting her, Spencer decides it’s time to exit the field and settle down. Three years later, however, he gets a fateful call from his old boss that destroys his and Jen’s suburban bliss. Quickly, guns are drawn, knives flashed, and, it seems, the entire town is trying to win a bounty placed on Spencer’s head. Jen will no doubt find out who Spencer really is; what will happen to their marriage then?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The biggest mystery in KILLERS is not how two perfectly appealing stars -- Heigl and Kutcher -- could have so little chemistry, but how a movie loaded with fast-paced sequences could be so tiresome. Clunky and curiously listless, despite a storyline thick with chase scenes and shootouts, Killers lugs forward from one plot point to the next with great effort -- not exactly what you look for in a romcom. There’s nothing horribly wrong about it; there’s just nothing impressive and right. The jokes are leaden, the gags tired. Even the villains are boring. When they show up, we’re barely surprised.

Plus, Heigl’s character, Jen, is off-putting to independent women everywhere. She appears all too willing to be infantilized -- her father insists she take a room on the same floor when they check into a hotel, and all she does is roll her eyes, like a teenager would. It’s a sad state of affairs, really, because the supporting actors are fantastic. Catherine O’Hara, especially, is at her screwball best. And never mind about the ending: Confusing at most.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie portrays coupledom and marriage. Is it realistic? Can you imagine getting into a serious relationship while keeping a big secret? Do movies need to be realistic to be good?

  • What do you think about Jen's character? Is her relationship with her parents healthy? Is she too dependent? Do you know women like Jen? Does this movie reinforce or challenge stereotypes about women?

  • What do you think about the violence in the movie? How does humor affect the way violence plays out in a movie or on TV? What would be the real consequences of some of the violence seen in the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 4, 2010
DVD release date:September 7, 2010
Cast:Ashton Kutcher, Catherine O'Hara, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck
Director:Robert Luketic
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Comedy
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violent action, sexual material and language

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 9, 11, 12, and 15 year old Written byGLRRDR July 12, 2010
age 8+
 

MY KIDS & I ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH!

ACTION PACKED, FERY FUNNY, LOVED IT!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamemaster3513 June 21, 2010
age 12+
 

Good movie for about anyone

Despite it's bad reviews I loved this movie. Auston Kutcher makes a great spy and Kathriene Hegil is very funny. The only real problem in this movie is the drinking, there are a few drunk people and one character does drink a little excessivly but thats about it, this movie was very funny and had a pretty good twist to it. I would see it again
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byCotty July 3, 2010
age 12+
 

Don't miss it

This movie was a very sweet romance slash adventure. Although the movie was over two hours long it seemed like it was only an hour it was so good. It will keep you on your toes and the humor will keep you laughing throught the entire thing. Two things to expect during this movie is that there is some crude humor and sexual content with the couple and there will also be several deaths, some implied and others you will see. Examples: Car falls onto spear like cones therefore implies thatthe guy-died. One girl (after a fight scene) is stabbed with an antler light. Does show her dead and hanging. (kind of freaky), there is also a scene were the main characters go into a hotel to find his old boss only to find him dead in his room. So as you can see this movie is not for younger viewers and I would give it an iffy for twelve and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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