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USA 1997
Directed by
George Armitage
107 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Grosse Pointe Blank

Grosse Pointe Blank is an inane high-school reunion comedy that has as its centrepiece a nice, middle-class boy (John Cusack) who just happens to be a hitman.

The whole thing is supposed to be wittily tongue-in-cheek but only in a culture weaned on cartoon violence would this be considered an even vaguely tenable claim despite some occasionally amusing lines (Cusack is credited with some of the dialogue) and set-ups (including a blitzing shoot-out in a convenience store).

Cusack’s sister, Joan, is as always a stand-out in her minor role and a very overweight Dan Ackroyd droll as a rival hitman, but director George Armitage who was hand-picked by Cusack in his producer role, no doubt for his previous film, Miami Blues (1990), completely fails to capture the tone of underlying tragedy which is essential for black comedy to succeed and for the most part, this is just plain sloppy commercial film-making for a highly uncritical audience that glibly inverts the Hollywood romantic comedy template (Minnie Driver is suitably gooey in the female lead) with a tasteless twist and bolstered with lots of '80s chart-toppers.




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