Grosse Pointe Blank

Bomb Rating: 

There seem to be a greater number of films like "Grosse Pointe Blank" rolling out of Hollywood these days: films so desperate to be hip that they jump on every opportunity to have their characters sit around for long periods of time and try to say vaguely cool things. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that the filmmakers lose track of time, the characters end up saying absolutely nothing that sounds like real dialogue and the audience lapses into a coma.

This happens more than a few times in "Grosse Pointe Blank," which is about Martin Blank (John Cusack), a hit man who goes back to his home town to attend his high school reunion, rekindle a romance with his high school sweetheart, Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver), and take care of some business.

Since there's so very little at the heart of this film, lots of tangential characters are dumped into the mix like pickle juice in a bad cake recipe. Joan Cusack plays Martin's assistant. Alan Arkin plays his psychiatrist. Dan Aykroyd plays his rival, who's trying to get him to join the hit man union.

This film gives off an awful odor of desperation, particularly when Martin and Debi have various conversations concerning the death and rebirth of their relationship. In an attempt to create that modern, hip, dramatic tension, the writers and director George ("Miami Blues") Armitage burden the dialogue with more pregnant pauses than a Paul Harvey broadcast, leaving the audience to wonder whether the "blank" in the title refers to what the characters are thinking at any one time.

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