The basic elements of what moviegoers would have wanted to see were there. Romance? Check. Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) and Jen (Katherine Heigl) make an attractive screen couple, but the chemistry between the two never really builds to where they completely make sense. Early on, we almost connect with Jen in her neediness, but as the movie progresses she mainly becomes a bit boring. Spencer, meanwhile, adds a little bit of action and intrigue in the first 15 minutes or so, but by the time he melds into the 'burbs, we find ourselves wishing we could go back to those 15 minutes because they were so much more interesting.
How about action? Check ... kind of. Again, those first 15 minutes have some fun moments, but between then and the last half hour or so, it's dullsville. We're mainly focused on the humdrum of Jen and Spencer's lives, and wondering if Spencer will get back into the spy business so that we can enjoy the movie again.
Comedy? Sometimes. Honestly, the movie is never as funny as you'd think it should be. There are some genuine laughs, but comedies need them to come early and often, and the chortles in "Killers" don't happen nearly often enough.
Mystery? Check. But the cliffhanger in "Killers" takes way too long to develop. You really only find out what the heck is going on in the last five minutes. And by then, it's pretty much too late to care about.
Honestly, on too many levels "Killers" feels like a bit of a mess. Director Robert Luketic never really establishes a good pace to the film, and too many of the performances feel like cardboard cutouts instead of well-developed characters. At first, the movie moves so slowly that it threatens to put you to sleep, but once the action starts it becomes so frenetic that it's unnerving. There simply doesn't seem to be any deliberate design about the way "Killers" unfolds.
After doing a little research, it seems like the studio meddled way too much in the making of "Killers" and even had a second screenwriter do a rewrite of the screenplay, including on-set changes to satisfy what the producers thought audiences wanted to see. The result is the same as having 10 different cooks tweak a recipe, each one making changes without checking what the other cooks had already done. The initial screenplay by Bob DeRosa might not have been perfect, but it certainly couldn't have been as bad as "Killers" turned out to be.
In the end, "Killers" is a cautionary tale of moviemaking. Directors - and studios - need to have vision, and it doesn't need to stem from focus groups and marketing analysis. Audiences ultimately love romance, humor and coherence - elements that are not nearly present enough in "Killers."