GROSSE POINTE BLANK (director: George Armitage; screenwriters: Tom Jankiewicz/D. V. DeVincentis/Steve Pink/John Cusack/based on a story by Mr. Jankiewicz; cinematographer: Jamie Anderson; editor: Brian Berdan; music: Joe Strummer; cast: John Cusack (Martin Q. Blank), Minnie Driver (Debi Newberry), Alan Arkin (Dr. Oatman), Dan Aykroyd (Grocer), Joan Cusack (Marcella), Hank Azaria (Lardner, Fed Agent), K. Todd Freeman (Kenneth McCullers, Fed Agent),Mitchell Ryan (Dbi’s Dad); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Susan Arnold/Donna Arkoff Roth/Roger Birnbaum; Hollywood Pictures; 1997)
“Silly black comedy fires a blank.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Silly black comedy fires a blank. Director George Armitage (“Hit Man”/”Miami Blues”/”The Big Bounce”)gives it no edge and the one-joke pic suffers from awkward dialogue and a slipshod story. By the conclusion it loses its moral compass and becomes irksome and contrived. It’s team written byTom Jankiewicz, D. V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink and John Cusack, and is based on a story by Mr. Jankiewicz.
Freelance hit man Marty Blank (John Cusack) returns to his hometown of Grosse Pointe, an affluent suburb of Detroit, for his high school’s 10th reunion weekend. After consulting with his reluctant shrink (Alan Arkin), too afraid to terminate the treatment, the shrink tells his patient he thinks it’s a good idea that he should go to the reunion and try to see how it feels not to kill for a few days. Marty’s zany secretary (Joan Cusack, John’s sister) arranges for a hit job while he’s in Motown. At the reunion the neurotic army trained contract killer is anxious to meet again Debi (Minnie Driver), the girl he dated and stood up for the prom but still loves.There’s also a rival hit man called Grocer (Dan Aykroyd), who wants to merge hitmen into his organization to avoid conflicts. The Grocer is angered that Marty refuses his offer and thereby vows to take him out.At the reunion, Marty meets Debi and starts to rethink his life and realizes he’s a stressed-out careerist who needs new goals in life.He starts his life anew by not going through with the hit on Debi’s executive father and stopping the Grocer from carrying out the contract killing.
REVIEWED ON 9/18/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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