Grosse Pointe Blank (Grorge Armitage, 1997)
[originally posted 22Oct2000]
This is one of those films that seems to have developed a rather wide and eclectic cult following who’ve seen it a thousand times and think it’s the most brilliant thing ever committed to celluloid. Okay, it was amusing in places, and the chemistry was believable, but really, I can’t say I see the obsessive qualities.
The plot centers around Max Blank (John Cusack), a contract killer who’s very good at his job. Through a series of odd coincidences, he ends up having to do a job in Detroit on the week of his tenth high school reunion in Grosse Pointe. Of course, going to the reunion involves seeing the old flame (Minnie Driver) he never picked up for the senior prom. You can probably guess the rest of that subplot.
Much of the charm of this movie, aside from the Cusack-Driver chemistry, comes from watching a pretty well put together ensemble cast drliver snappy one-liners. Mitch “after forty years of character acting I’m now serious and must be referred to as Mitchell” Ryan is perfect as Driver’s father, Dan Aykroyd shines as a rival contract killer, three (count ’em!) Cusack siblings have minor roles, Jenna Elfman is… well, blonde, etc., etc.
The plot moves along, there are a number of chuckles, but… there’s nothing that really make this movie stand out. It’s kind of like the eight pounds of lettuce loaded on every Subway sub—there’s a good deal of bulk there, and it looks like you’re getting a really huge sandwich, but when you’re done with it, you realize there was actually a lot less meat than you originally thought. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing, because the sandwich was still filling. There was just not as much as your expectations led you to believe. ** ½