Grosse Pointe Blank
with John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Directed by George Armitage
Written by Tom Jankiewicz
by Scott Hefflon
Martin Q. Blank (Cusack) goes to his 10 year high school reunion having not been back since he graduated. Now he’s a professional killer. Life takes some funny turns, huh? While Martin has no qualms terminating his targets, he’s scared stiff at the thought of seeing his high school sweetie (Driver) who he stood up at the prom and hasn’t contacted since. Martin submits to the pressure of his office manager (his real-life sister, Joan Cusack) who’s fascinated by the notion that he “actually came from somewhere.” But he doesn’t submit to the pressure of joining the hitman’s union, the brainchild of self-nominated father figure/antagonist Grocer (Aykroyd). So Grocer hires a hit on Blank, turns him in to a government agency (“Let me get this straight: If we kill the bad guy, we’re bad guys. If we wait until the bad guy kills the good guy, then we kill the bad guy, we’re the good guys?” It’s almost as good as that “I don’t want to make anything processed/process anything sold/sell anything processed” argument in Say Anything.), then chases him to Grosse Pointe to steal his hit.
While many of the scenes and philosophies have been explored in other movies, Grosse Pointe Blank offers a few new twists on old action sequences, and interesting motivations to the characters. Cusack is, as usual, a really likable guy, even when shooting people. A nice recurring theme is, “It’s not me. Why does everyone always think it’s personal?” I’m not really certain what that sentiment means in the grand scheme of life, liberty, and all that other stuff, but I’m glad it was worked in. The behavioral quirks of the classmates at the reunion were believable, but glossed quickly over, as was pretty much every aspect of returning home to find everything’s different. Grosse Pointe Blank is predominantly a rekindled love story, one filled with redemption sought, tentatively acquired then lost, then solidified in the end. There just happen to be bullets flying throughout most of it. The wary couple are goofy, cute, and really work well together, but actors like this need more than a conveniently-falling-into-place plot to stretch their characters. The scenes are, for the most part, typical, but they’re played out very entertainingly.