Grosse Pointe Blank is one of the most original comedies to come along in a long time. I meant to write a review of this one a while back, but never seem to have found the time.
Grosse Pointe Blank
Directors: George Armitage
Producers: Jonathan Glickman & Lata Ryan
Writers: Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, & John Cusack
Features: Interactive Menu, Chapter Search, Original Theater Trailer, Widescreen 1.85:1, ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC], FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo, SUBTITLES Spanish
Martin Q. Blank - John Cusack
Debi Newberry - Minnie Driver
Grocer - Dan Aykroyd
Dr. Oatman - Alan arkin
Grosse Pointe Blank is one of the most original comedies to come along in a long time. I meant to write a review of this one a while back, but never seem to have found the time. After using it as the quote for last week's Front Row, Sofa, I thought it would be a good time to sit down and watch the film again.
The film follows a weekend in the life of Martin Blank (John Cusack), a professional hit man. This is no ordinary weekend, though, this is the weekend where he decides to go back to Grosse Point, Michigan for his high school reunion. Martin doesn't really want to go back for the reunion, but does so at the urging of his therapist (sort of), Dr. Oatman (Alan Arkin).
It's been ten years since Martin left Michigan, and when he left he simply disappeared, leaving his life there in the lurch. Upon returning, he begins to hook up with old friends, and his old girlfriend, Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver). Debi is no pushover, though, and she's still pissed at Martin for disappearing on prom night ten years earlier.
The film is filled with bizarre characters who seem completely at home in their environment. Of special interest is John Cusack's sister, Joan Cusack, as Marcella, his assistant. There's a great scene where she's switching between phone lines, giving cooking instructions on one line and barking orders at a weapons supplier on the other.
The reunion itself is very plausibly presented, and all the people Martin runs into seem to match up with some real-life personality we all know. Everybody from Bobby "Beemer" Destepello to Paul Spericki (played with wild abandon by Jeremy Piven). Other major supporting roles are played by a who's who of talented comic actors, from Hank Azaria to Dan Aykroyd (and that's just the "A's").
Combine all of these reunion happenings with the fact that Martin's got a batch of hit men after him, as well as some government agents, and you get all the makings of a raucous and entertaining comedy.
I've seen Grosse Pointe Blank about ten times now, and it gets just a little bit better each time I watch it. I find myself fully and completely lost in the world of Martin Blank and his compadres.
The disc itself is nothing to phone home about. It's typical Disney fare, featuring the film in a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer, and a Dolby Digital sound mix which is good, but nothing spectacular. Extras are comprised of the theatrical trailer and some film recommendations which seem completely unrelated to the film. The menus are bland and uninteresting.
Grosse Pointe Blank is easily one of the most original and engaging films of the past few years. It proved to be a sleeper hit when released theatrically, and now that it's available on DVD, there's no excuse for missing it. Buena Vista didn't exactly do a great job with the disc, but the movie by itself is worth more than a purchase. You could rent it first to see what it's all about, but be aware that you'll end up purchasing the movie after you've seen it, so you may as well save yourself a trip to the video store and just buy it.
Contributing Editor: www.dvdfuture.com