Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl are two of the most innocently
handsome people in
. He doesn’t project the
rough-hewn manliness of a Russell Crowe, or the pure prettiness of a Brad
Pitt, or the boyish appeal of a Taylor Lautner. But
he’s got this aw-shucks grin and this mischievous look and glimmer in the
eye, all of which catch the eye of Katherine Heigl.
The former “Gray’s Anatomy” star doesn’t have the chiseled,
bony good looks of a skinny model like Angelina Jolie, nor does she project
the girl-next-door cuteness of a Jennifer Anniston, or even a Sandra Bullock,
whose looks are enough to turn heads, but not move mountains.
Kutcher and Heigl have just the right looks for the parts in this film:
with the glamour toned down, they can pass for the nice young couple living
right down the street. But
there’s more here than meets the eye.
Heigl plays Jen, a young career woman taking a vacation to
with her parents. That tells you
something right there. Her
boyfriend has just dumped her, and she really doesn’t have anything better
to do than to just accept their invitation, though she immediately senses that
this wasn’t such a good idea, as her parents can’t quit treating her like
a high schooler in their care, and they have their own issues, anyway.
However, things brighten up considerably when she meets Spencer (Kutcher),
and she falls for him immediately, doing that bumbling-nervous thing with a
fair amount of believability. But
there’s more to Spencer than just a young expatriate speaking the language
like a native and zipping around in a fancy sports car.
He’s actually a paid assassin for the
government, on assignment in
. But he’s longed for the
simple, normal, suburban American life he’s never had, and sees in Jen a
perfect partner for his quick exit from the dark, deceitful life he has chosen
Fast-forward three years, and it is indeed the house in the suburbs
(although still a little painfully close to her Mom and Dad), and block
parties, and bar-b-ques in the back yard, and off to work every day and hoping
to start a family. But Spencer
was not in the kind of profession that you just walk away from.
His past catches up to him, and, inevitably, Jen finds out.
She’s furious, of course, that he can lie so effectively, which makes
her question anything he’s ever said. He
claims he tried to tell her, but realized later she’d fallen asleep, and
decided it wouldn’t help anything, anyway.
But they don’t have much time for recriminations.
Now everybody they ever knew is coming after them, and they literally
can’t tell friend from foe. It
seems the “contract” on him is like a bounty that anyone can collect, from
the FedEx delivery guy to the nosy neighbor next door.
And that’s when the movie rocks back and forth on these parallel
tracks, romantic comedy to action adventure.
Jen and Spencer both have guns now, and know how to use them.
Chase scenes and car crashes and explosions and hand-to-hand combat.
All with a straight face, as if seemingly ordinary, respectable-looking
people suddenly start playing for blood.
It’s a strange kind of mood to sustain, and the viewer is suddenly
uncertain whether this is adventure or comedy or some oil-and-vinegar mixture
of the two. In a loose-fitting
kind of way, it works, just because of the unique personas of the two stars:
as long as you don’t think too much about it, or how well the story
holds together. This is one of
those popcorn movies where you just enjoy the light fare and call it
entertainment, and leave your disbelief suspended at the popcorn stand.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace