‘Killing Gunther’ feels like an over-egged, unfunny SNL sketch
Gregory WakemanPosted on
Director: Taran Killam
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Taran Killam, Cobie Smulders, Bobby Moynihan, Hannah Simone, Allison Tolman
2 (Out Of 5) Globes
Plot: A group of professional assassins join together to try and kill the world’s best hitman, Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger). As well as assembling the posse, Blake (Taran Killam) also hires a camera crew to document their attempts to bring down their rival. However, Gunther always appears to be one step ahead of Blake, Sanaa (Hannah Simone), Donnie (Bobby Moynhihan), and Mia (Allison Tolman), while the group constantly shoot themselves in the foot, too, leading to numerous setbacks along the way.
Review: Considering the talent involved in “Killing Gunther,” and the star name attached to raise its profile, you can’t help but feel underwhelmed by it as both a comedy and a spectacle. Despite being just 93-minutes long, “Killing Gunther” soon becomes a chore, chugging and struggling through its running time. First-time writer and director Taran Killam (“Saturday Night Live”) had clearly envisioned a mash-up of “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Grosse Point Blank.” But there’s a complete lack of originality and humor in his script to warrant such comparisons, and it quickly becomes pedestrian. In fact, “Killing Gunther” never feels like anything more than an elongated, over-egged, and lackluster “SNL” sketch. Bobby Moynihan is the only star to emerge with any credit, generating the most chortles, but none of them ever verge close to side-splitting. There’s one element of “Killing Gunther” that keeps you intrigued even through the mire, though; the delayed emergence of Arnold Schwarzenegger. When the Austrian behemoth does finally turn-up he immediately injects such enthusiasm into proceedings that the film is elevated, while it also helps that even at 70 he has a presence you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s not enough to actually salvage “Killing Gunther”, but at least it stops it from being a complete waste of time.