Movie reviews: Killers, Please Give and MacGruber
KILLERS * * *
Cert 12A, 100 mins
Cinema is still going through its World Cup drought, with no blockbusters released during the tournament.
So what can those not interested in football see this week? Ashton Kutcher with his shirt off, that’s what.
The hunk, aka Mr Demi Moore, grabs our attention by disrobing within five minutes of his first appearance.
Sadly it never really gets much better than that.
The main problem is that Killers doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be.
It starts off as a romcom before eventually, after almost an hour of not a lot happening, veering off into far-fetched action.
Kutcher plays charming government agent Spencer Aimes, who gives up his career as a hitman when he meets Jen (Katherine Heigl). He’s in the middle of a job in Nice, she’s on holiday with her over-protective parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara).
Flash forward three years and they’re married, living a quiet suburban life. Until Spencer’s old handler gets in touch and suddenly everyone around them wants to kill them.
It’s great to see Selleck and his fine moustache back on screen and the performances are generally good.
I laughed a few times and was fairly entertained. I just wish it had a better structure and not such a flat ending. RL
PLEASE GIVE * * * *
Cert 15, 90 mins
Writer/director Nicole Holofcener has a name that’s a bit of a mouthful – and her films are equally complex.
Not difficult to watch, just satisfyingly multi-layered. Having written the clever Jennifer Aniston film Friends With Money and directed several episodes of Sex and the City, she’s a bit like a female, more cheerful Woody Allen.
She really knows how to create believable characters, especially women.
Three fine actresses carry the bulk of this witty and entertaining film.
Kate (Catherine Keener) spends a large part of her life feeling guilty. She feels bad about the fact she buys furniture from the families of the recently deceased, then sells it at a huge profit in her trendy New York store.
She feels guilty that she and her husband Alex (Oliver Platt) have already bought the apartment next door and are basically waiting for the bitter old resident, 91-year-old Andra, to die.
In a bid to offset the guilt, she gives money and food to homeless people on the street, sometimes with very funny consequences.
She also feels the need to invite Andra and her granddaughters, sweet Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and abrupt Mary (Amanda Peet), who says exactly what she thinks, to dinner.
Not that anyone is particularly grateful, especially their stroppy and spotty teenage daughter.
Little happens in this film but I still found it interesting to spend time in the company of these people.
Smart and touching, this is a must for lovers of human drama. RL
Cert 15, 98 mins
Whatever happened to Val Kilmer?
Just 15 years ago he had the most enviable job in the movies as Batman.
But, despite starring in films like True Romance and Heat and alongside two Oscar nominees in Pollock, he’s generally been an under-achiever. Compared with John Travolta, Kilmer hasn’t even been very good at making really bad films.
He’s only got three unsuccessful Razzie Nominations – for The Ghost and the Darkness, The Saint and Alexander – when Travolta has seven.
Now aged 50 and reduced to sporting an unflattering ponytail as a villain who can also be seen painting a nude, very flabby woman, MacGruber could well earn Kilmer a fourth Razzie nomination and maybe he’ll win.
The title role is a Saturday Night Live- inspired parody of the 80s TV series MacGyver, about a secret agent who refuses to carry a gun. Will Forte takes the title role of MacGruber.
As the only man to have been a Green Beret, Navy SEAL and Army Ranger, he’s the most decorated serviceman in the US with 16 Purple Hearts etc.
Still mourning the wedding day death of his wife (Maya Rudolph) at the hands of Kilmer’s Dieter Von C**th (we can’t even print his surname in a family newspaper), he’s called out of retirement after his nemesis steals a nuclear warhead.
Although he’s described as ‘The Ultimate Tool’, MacGruber sports a comical mullet haircut and he carries his car stereo with him everywhere he goes. So far, so mildly funny.
But the film either needs a greater satirical edge like the under-rated Team America or much deeper roots in escapist believability like James Bond or even Rambo.
Instead it relies heavily on its lowest common denominator foul-mouthed jokes, which includes sticking a piece of celery where no vegetable belongs and MacGruber having sex with his dead wife while they are both standing up. The dialogue is short and to the point but conversations are meaningless.
Should you see this? Only if you’re a fully paid up member of the ‘So bad it’s good’ society. GY