Starring: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Ackroyd, Alan Arkin, Jeremy Piven, Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria
Director: George Armitage
Life is no bed of roses for Martin Blank (John Cusack – “Con Air”). Working as a professional killer for five years, he finally sees little value in it and longs for a change. One only has to see the signs of resignation and possibly apology in his eyes when he answers a mark’s question: ‘why?’. ‘It’s not me’, Blanke declares.
When a job goes wrong he is told to complete another job which he has decided will be his last. The job coincides with and is in close proximity to Grosse Pointe; the place where his ten year school reunion is taking place. Advised by his therapist (Arkin – “Coupe De Ville”, “Glengary Glen Ross”) and his office manager (Joan Cusack) to attend the reunion, Blank arrives in Grosse Pointe knowing that he will face the wrath of Debi (Driver – “Circle of Friends”, “Sleepers”, “Good Will Hunting”), the woman he left waiting on prom night before disappearing ten years previously.
But life is hanging by a string for Blank and his attempts at reconciliating with Debi are hampered by the close attentions of a pissed-off Eastern-bloc hitman and also Grocer (Ackroyd) and his hired goons who all want him dead. However, meeting up with his school ‘pals’ of the past might be an even worse experience…
“Grosse Pointe Blank” is an enjoyable experience; sharp and witty and very amusing for the most part – very much a ‘new wave’ type of movie. The quality script might have been less effective if it wasn’t for the excellent execution from the cast. Cusack wallows in black comedy most of the time but balances his ‘self-assured killer’ performance with a less confident swagger when dealing with the people in Grosse Pointe. Dan Ackroyd makes an excellent return to form, Minnie Driver is a million miles from the innocent schoolgirl performance in “Circle Of Friends” and the hyperactive Joan Cusack is surprisingly well cast as Cusack’s secretary.
What I most like about his film is the lack of sentimentality shown. By rights it should have been swimming in it but director, George Armitage, purposefully keeps “Grosse Pointe Blank” away from that typicality. There is nothing particularly outstanding about the movie, but you can’t argue with the entertainment value. After this and ‘Con Air’, I think the tide is finally turning for John Cusack – he may be the next Al Pacino…