Grosse Pointe Blank Reviews
Man, for a romantic action comedy, that sure is one hefty plot! Thankfully the film goes down quite easy, and doesn't end up being quite as laborious and complicated as I've no doubt made it sound. It's breezy, funny (sometimes downright hilarious), quite charming, and feverishly entertaining. Yeah, there's a lot of cliched stuff going on here, but it blends together pretty decently, even though the film could have probably found a way to end that didn't involve delving into a typical action movie climax.
It does have a quite snazzy soundtrack though, and the score was done by Joe Strummer, so that's all awesome. John Cusack delivers a typically solid performance full of his trademark mix of charm, likability, and neuroses. His sister Joan is a scene stealing riot as the secretary, Alan Arkin is a lot of fun as the psychiatrist, Dan Aykroyd is wickedly funny as Martin's rival, and then finally we have Minnie Driver as the old flame Debi. A lot of people seem to not like her, but I think she's a decent actress, fairly attractive, and does decently here as the spurned woman with an understandable grudge.
The film really isn't groundbreaking, but it is quite well played and never dull. It's primarily a comedy, but the action is done decently too, with my favorite setpiece being the amazingly funny shootout at a convenience store.
Overall, this is a nice little entertaining gem. It's definitely a quirky 90s movie, and though it is flawed, it's still an enjoyable ride.
Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
Excellent original black comedy about a depressed assassin, Martin Q. Blank (Cusack in one of his best roles yet) who decides to attend his 10th year high school reunion and hook up with his ex (Driver) who he stood up on prom night and fighting off a rival hitman (a glossy-eyed Aykroyd) who wants to unionize. Hilarious screenplay (co-written by Cusack and Tom Jankewicz, D.V. De Vincentis and Cusack's real-life best friend Steve Pink) and deft comic performances combine perfectly with smart direction by George Armitage. Best, and surprisingly poignant, scene is Cusack at mid-reunion deciding to chuck his "career" when facing a former classmate's adorable baby with Queen's "Under Pressure" underscoring the moment and David Bowie's haunting vocals; had me verklempt.
There is no real reason why this movie should be in my top 3 of all time. It is simply a movie that just clicks with me and makes me feel like having a continuous loop of it would be just fine.
It fits itself into my favorite genre of movie, a dark comedy, and a hit man-comedy at that. It's very funny, has a great soundtrack, some very funny characters, and some pretty cool action scenes.
Martin Blank: If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.
John Cusack is Martin Q. Blank, in a great performance as a man who became detached from life, ditched his previous life in Michigan, and became a contract killer. He has a handful of charisma as well as a dark undercurrent and some paranoia issues that create a well balanced character.
Debi: Some people say forgive and forget. Nah, I don't know. I say forget about forgiving and just accept. And... get the hell out of town.
Minnie Driver is perfect as the lost girl in Martin's life, who plays as a good foil to his character. She is charming and funny, and very different in relation to the other people still in her Michigan town.
Mr. Grocer: Easy there Chief, I don't see Hollow-Point Wound Care on the menu.
Martin Blank: Why are you in Detroit? Redwings need a new goon?
Dan Akroyd is also great in a complete bizarre role as a rival hit man to Martin, and has a great style of chemistry with Cusack as well.
And then there are great little roles from Joan Cusack, Alan Arkin, Hank Azaria and Jeremy Piven, all with some of the best moments in the movie.
Marty: Debi's house.
Paul: Kinda crept up on you, didn't it?
Marty: No, you drove us here.
Paul: [pause] Yep.
I love the concept, a hit man is disillusioned with his work and decides to attend his high school reunion and re-evaluate his life. Of course there is also a job to be done in his town, as well as rivals awaiting him.
I also love how care free the responses are concerning hit men. No one takes Martin serious when he tells them what he does and in relation to the other people at the reunion, it seems like Martin would actually win the award for the most interesting life after high school.
Mr. Newberry: What have you been doing with your life?
Marty: Uh... professional killer.
Mr. Newberry: Oh! Good for you, it's a... growth industry.
The soundtrack of this movie is great. It got me into The Violent Femmes as well as a few other bands. I am not a big fan of 80s music, but this movie somehow manages to get the only bands and songs I like that had hits in the 80s and compile 2 great soundtracks albums.
Martin Q. Blank: Oh, the reason I called... Could you find out who else is in town? I've made two spooks and a ghoul already, so if they've double-booked the job, and/or they're going to kill me, I'd like to know. If you could find that out, that'd be great.
The direction by George Armitage also works very well. He combines all the elements of a dark/romantic comedy with an action thriller. The action is a lot of fun, with some memorable scenes, including a particular fight scene that is very gritty and real and a shootout in a mini mart. And this is all mixed once again with the great soundtrack as well as live vibrant colors fitting the nature of the comedy and situation.
Mr. Grocer: So, what are you gonna do? You gonna Throw that gun at me?
Marty: No... Maybe!
Mr. Grocer: How 'bout this? How 'bout I sell you a piece for a hundred Gs?
Marty: OK! Front me?
Mr. Grocer: Deal!
I love watching this movie. It moves quickly, has a number of memorable scenes, quick and sharp dialog written by Cusack and his friends, with a fun high concept and good characters.
Martin Blank: You're a handsome devil. What's your name?