It’s been a long time since I’ve walked out of a John Cusack movie feeling good about the state of John Cusack. Sometimes it feels like he mistook the title of his film Must Love Dogs for career advice. Which is a shame, because 15 years ago he was one of the few actors who managed to step successfully out of the teen-comedy ghetto into smart, sophisticated fare like Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity, and my personal favorite, the underrated Grosse Pointe Blank (1997, R, 1 hr., 47 mins.). Just out on Blu-ray, this hip black comedy stars Cusack as a jaded Gen-X hitman named Martin Blank, who returns to his tony suburban Detroit hometown to mix business with pleasure — attending his 10-year high school reunion and whacking someone. Martin doesn’t really want to see his old classmates (well, aside from the old flame he ditched on prom night, played by Minnie Driver), but his terrified therapist (Alan Arkin) thinks it might be a good idea. ”Don’t kill anybody for a few days,” he advises. ”Just see what it feels like.” As Martin does a little soul-searching, he squares off with a rival contract killer (Dan Aykroyd) and juggles phone calls from his exasperated secretary (Joan Cusack). After stabbing a goon assassin at his reunion with a ballpoint pen, Martin wraps the corpse in a banner that ironically reads ”Believe and Achieve.” I can’t be the only one who’d like to see that John Cusack again. A-
Genre: Comedy, Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Hank Azaria, Joan Cusack, Jeremy Piven; Director: George Armitage; Author: John Cusack; Producer (person): John Cusack; MPAA Rating: R
Posted July 27 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
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