Grosse Pointe Blank

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 08/19/98 23:14:28

"You may well enjoy it a lot more the second time around."
5 stars (Awesome)

Strange case, this movie. So much to appreciate, a little to squirm at. The question is does the good outweigh the bad? The answer is a resounding yes, but perhaps only if you went to school during the 80's.

Everybody's favorite everyman, Johhny Cusack, is a hitman. He's a good hitman. He's all Bridget Fonda n'shit.

But he's a sad hitman. He wonders if this is all there is. Can he really go through life taking sniper shots at diplomats and drug dealers? Can he survive the unionization of his business? Can he make it through his high school reunion?

Much was made of the soundtrack to this film, and I too had big expectations, but for mine, it didn't deliver. It was better than The Wedding Singer's soundtrack (no shock there, as the Wdding singer was unholy garbage), but it was still a ways short of encapsulating the 80's like, say, Pretty In Pink did.

Going in, I have to also admit, the cast looked shoddy. Dan Aykroyd has a helper monkey approving his scripts for him these days (Celtic Pride? My Girl 2? Blues Brothers 2000? What was he thinking?) and Hank Azaria's career highpoint has, to this date, been falling on his face in The Bird Cage - but somehow it all comes together regardless. Minnie Driver is great, both Cusack's together are always great, Azaria doesn't shame himself (like he did in Godzilla) and Aykroyd saves his career from heading to Denny's by not sucking at all. In fact, he's quite outstanding.

Then there's the story. Assassin goes to high school reunion and finds the girl he stood up at the prom years earlier. Sounds fine, works well for most of the film, but towards the end it does get very improbable and mushy and 'hijinx' happy and... sentimental.

The first time I saw it I was unimpressed. I expected more. Then I saw it again a few months later and, lo and behold, I loved the damn thing. The difference? Maybe I was feeling older, maybe I was more caught up in the habit of 'looking back', maybe I was feelig a little more nostalgic, maybe I'd gotten used to he idea that Minnie Driver could actualy be hot.

Don't ask me why, I have no idea. But for some reason this film played out way better the second time around.

So I guess the lesson here is if you haven't seen Grosse Point Blank yet, give it a crack. There's enough good stuff in it for you to certainly enjoy the experience. And if you have seen it before, give it another shake. You may well enjoy it a lot more the second time around.

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