Grosse Pointe Blank

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

Class reunions often inspire self-evaluation among its participants, and that's the case with Martin Blank (John Cusack) in this dark comedy. He's a professional assassin losing his passion for the job; he's even seeing a psychiatrist (Alan Arkin), who's alarmed about this patient's credentials. The psychiatrist and Martin's devoted office manager (Joan Cusack) believe a trip to his 10-year high school reunion will do him some good, so she arranges a "hit" that coincides with reunion weekend in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Martin left his hometown on prom night to join the army, and his involvement in covert operations led to his current profession. He has one regret about his sudden departure, as he stood up his high school sweetheart and prom date Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver) that night. He discovers she's now a deejay on a Grosse Pointe radio station, and after a strained reunion they begin to get reacquainted. Other shady characters in town are interested in Martin's activities, including a rival assassin known as Grocer (Dan Aykroyd), who wants Martin to join a union for hitmen, and two government operatives who intend to eliminate Martin after he completes his assignment. The love story is appealing and the movie's satirical flavor leads to moments of outlandish humor. But Grosse Pointe Blank's dark tone will probably prevent it from making a killing at the box office.

The film's set-up immediately puts it on shaky moral ground, as its "hero" is a cold-blooded killer. Martin tries to justify his actions by saying that everyone he has killed deserved it for some reason. He wants to get out of the business, but not due to any remorse about his actions. Violent gunfire with bloody wounds and killings includes a scene with multiple assassinations and another deadly shootout. In a hand-to-hand confrontation with another hitman, Martin kills his attacker by stabbing him in the throat with a pen. A convenience store is destroyed by a fiery bomb explosion. Excessive foul language includes 29 obscenities and 10 regular profanities. Particularly because it glorifies a professional murderer, this comedy is no laughing matter.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (Hollywood Pictures), 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (13) times Mild 7, Moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (29) times (f-word 22, s-word 6, other 1)

Profanity: Several (14) times Regular 10 (G-d 5, G 3, JC 1, for G sake 1), Exclamatory 4

Violence: Many times Moderate and severe (gunfire with bloody wounds and killings, large explosion, fistfight, bloody stabbing with pen, man killed when TV is smashed on his head)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (passionate kissing)

Drugs: Several times (alcohol drinking, smoking, marijuana smoking, references to cocaine use)

Other: None

Running Time: 106 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.