Killers (2010)

Dollar theaters, as I have surely said before, are awesome because they give you a chance to fill in gaps in your summer movie experience that would otherwise be relegated to Netflix or cable channels, both of which I am largely terrible at. Also, I suppose, if you are poor (or temporarily jobless for four months), they would then be awesome for different reasons. Of course, another factor is that these gaps occurred because you try to see the best stuff first, and the ones that slip through the cracks, you probably feel better only having paid a buck or two to see. Which is not to imply that Killers is a bad movie! It had several pretty funny moments, and the action was decent without resorting to any kind of fireballs-per-minute equation that some producers do when they ran out of budget for a script doctor[1]. It’s just the kind of movie that benefits from lowered expectations and, yeah, a smaller hit on the wallet.

Another upside to it, though, it that the premise was very, very simple. It’s exactly the same kind of family drama you saw all over the place back in the early ’80s, when Hollywood was beginning to admit that sometimes marriages end and people get angry with each other and have to deal with a big mess and see if they can put their lives back together[2]. Which is not to say that Ashton Kutcher is going to fail to have the manly wherewithal to convince Katherine Heigl that their relationship is worth saving, or for that matter to say the opposite; my point is, the topic of the movie is the impending dissolution of a marriage. But then they cleverly did the thing where they increase their audience share by putting that movie in a blender with a completely different movie; in this case, it’s about spies. To hilarious result? Y’know, maybe; like I said, it was pretty funny. But there’s something funnier to me about the pitch meeting where some guy was telling Ashton Kutcher’s manager, “No, no, it’ll be great, it’s a relationship drama, but with guns!”

[1] I know this makes no sense; I can only speculate that something about the oxygen/pollution ratios in Los Angeles make explosions cost far less to accomplish there than anywhere else, or else that nobody told them most writers don’t make anything approaching a living wage from their craft. Or both?
[2] But before the late ’90s when this genre lamentably metamorphosed into the celebration of relationships ending so that the girl could clear the way for the fairytale guy that was obviously right around the corner. (I suspect I’ve made this complaint this before, though.)

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