"Don't tease me. You know what I do for a living."
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Director: George Armitage
Screenplay: Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack
Genre: Comedy / Romance
Martin Q. Blank is a hitman who has reached a fork in the road of life. Ten years earlier, on the night of his senior prom, he stood up his date, Debi, and joined the army. Military testing revealed Martin had a certain “moral flexibility” and he was enlisted in a special training program. He became a trained assassin for the United States Army and once discharged, he and his current profession sort of found each other.
But since killing the president of Uruguay with a fork and accidentally offing Budro the pup, Martin finds himself lacking job satisfaction. At the prompting of his secretary, Marcella, and his somewhat nervous shrink, Dr. Oatman, he reluctantly takes a job in Detroit with plans to stop by Grosse Pointe for his ten year high school reunion.
Here’s where the fun begins. Martin arrives in town to find things somewhat the same yet disturbingly different. His house has been turned into an Ultimart. His mother is in a home and on lithium. His buddy Paul is in real estate, the class jock is selling Beamers and writing bad poetry, and Debi is working as a DJ at the local radio station. Having no clue how to explain what he’s been doing for the past ten years, Martin decides to be honest, but no one seems to take “professional killer” as a serious occupation.
Martin’s primary objective while at home is reuniting with Debi, who is obviously more than a tad gun shy. But persistence pays and eventually Martin gets his date for the reunion with the woman who’s starred in his recurring dreams for the past five years, all for the price of a quick airplane.
Things would be lovely for our friend if it weren’t for Mr. Grocer and his Assassins Union, the government spooks looking for a pigeon, and the ghoul hired by Budro’s owner, all trying to kill Martin for various reasons. As Martin continues putting off doing the Detroit job, his safety becomes more of a concern for Marcella back at the office. Poor Marcella ends up “taking down the office” with a giant can of gasoline and a very large hammer.
Will Martin ever again be content with his career? Will Dr. Oatman be able to sever his scary doctor/patient relationship with Martin? Can Debi live happily ever after with a hitman? Will Paul ever get to dance with Jenny Slater? Find out! Rent the movie!
Honestly, this is on my list of top ten favorite movies of all time. The dark humor is amusing. The 80's music soundtrack is great. I love seeing John and Joan together; they make a great comedic team. So do John and Jeremy. Though it's worth seeing just for John...c'mon, girls love John Cusack! No matter how many times I see it, I still laugh. Sadly, there isn't much extra stuff on the DVD. I was hoping for some outtakes or deleted scenes, but no dice.
Cast (first billed only, from www.imdb.com):
John Cusack – Martin Q. Blank
Minne Driver – Debi Newberry
Alan Arkin – Dr. Oatman
Dan Aykroyd – Mr. Grocer
Joan Cusack – Marcella
Hank Azaria – Steven Lardner
K. Todd Freeman – Kevin McCullers
Mitch Ryan (of Dharma and Greg fame) – Mr. Bart Newberry
Jeremy Piven – Paul Spericki
Michael Cudlitz – Bob Destepello
Benny Urquidez – Felix La PuBelle
Duffy Taylor – Ultimart Carl
Audrey Kissel – Arlene
Carlos Jacott – Ken McCullard
Brian Powell – Husky Man
There are a couple of notable cameo appearances in GPB. First is a neck-braced Jenna Elfman, whom Martin and Debi run into at the reunion. Her character, Tanya, just died and lived to tell about it. Apparently, heaven is music, Mozart, flowers, and poetry. Then there’s also a third Cusack to be found…Ann Cusack plays Amy, a slightly tipsy Pointer who intrudes on Martin and Debi at a local bar.