"Grosse Pointe Blank" is a revelation of a movie, so intelligent, subtle and altogether terrific that it's almost a shock that it made it to the screen with what seems to be most of its original integrity. John Cusack plays a hit man who has to go home to Detroit for both an assassination *and* his 10-year high school reunion. His character, Martin Blank, happens upon the girl he stood up at the prom, and though the whole thing sounds slapstick and goofy, it is, but somehow also wrenchingly human and genuine.
Minnie Driver plays the girlfriend, and with supporting roles from Alan Arkin (wonderful, of course) and Dan Aykroyd (wonderful, shock!), the whole thing has a generational stylistic consistency that hasn't been seen since John Hughes went south.
Most curiously—and perhaps the best aspect of "Grosse Pointe Blank"—is that the movie itself is a John Hughes world turned upside down. Although director George Armitage is keeping the script strictly under his own personal domain, the myriad of allusions to the early '80s doesn't stop with the soundtrack (Violent Femmes, a-ha, etc.). Not only is the setting as familiarly midwestern and suburban as Hughes' Chicago, but Martin Blank could very well be what Lloyd Dobler (Cusack's wonderful role in Cameron Crowe's "Say Anything") becomes after Ione Skye leaves him in the British dust.
Perhaps it's just because I feel a natural affinity for all these movies—I turned sixteen with "Sixteen Candles," was a junior with "The Breakfast Club," and graduated from high school the same year as both Lloyd Dobler and now Martin Blank. But there's something about this movie that is as magical and human as anything I've seen in a while, and judging from the applause at the Varsity, it may well translate to any graduating class.
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