The comparisons to 1994's 'Pulp Fiction are becoming absurd. That film was
in a class by itself and will be recognizable in nostalgic flashbacks years
from now. 'Two Days in the Valley' (1996) and a few other 'Pulp Fiction'
wannabes are a waste of time and conversation.
'Grosse Pointe Blank' is being compared to 'Pulp Fiction' and that is the
most ludicrous insult of them all. Martin Blank (John Cusack) is a freelance
hitman and former government assassin who returns to his Michigan hometown
for his ten year high school reunion. Along the way he finds some time to
spend with his psychiatrist (Alan Arkin) and rubs elbows with a fellow hitman
(Dan Aykroyd) whose trying to recruit Cusack into joining him in business as
a partner. Upon returning to the place where he grew up, he visits his
mother living in a mental institution, visits his father's grave and stops by
to view the place his old house used to be and he is stunned to see it is now
the site of a convenience store.
Throughout the course of the picture he is tailed by two government watchdogs
and another assassin working in tow with Aykroyd to eventually kill him and
he finally meets his high school sweetheart, the girl he stood up on prom
night (Minnie Driver). She is stunned to see him again and plays hard to get
in a lovable fashion which brings back the good old days for the two of them.
'Grosse Pointe Blank' starts off in a most quirky and unusual fashion with a
likable tone and feel to it but as soon as Cusack and Driver meet, this
motion picture takes a sharp turn in the direction of being unbearably
abysmal; full of dialogue that has no coherent structure and has situations
and characters straight from the mannequins reject pile.
It's such a disappointment to see John Cusack in a role that undercuts his
value as an actor and Cusack is an extremely respectable star who has made a
name for himself by wanting a low but noticeable profile in Hollywood since
most of his films are critical rather than financial successes. 'Grosse
Pointe Blank' leaves a bad taste in your mouth after you view it and revels
in its own imagined glory as it builds itself up to be more than it really is
and in the final payoff it falls flat on its face being full of meandering
dark humour and heartless characters, some of whom redeem themselves too late
and others who are unnecessary in the film's attempt to entertain.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith