Grosse Pointe Blank

 
Quirky mix of laughs, romance, strong violence.
  • Review Date: November 9, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While much of the film deals with revenge, anger, and cold-blooded murder, a sense of regret and possible hopefulness emerges, and Martin tries to do the right thing by Debi.

Positive role models

Martin is a professional assassin; while he ultimately seems to question his choices and wish for a different kind of life, he's hardly a clear-cut role model. Debi is a spirited woman who's very capable of standing up for herself.

Violence

The story revolves around muder and violence; there are shoot-outs, fights, chases, destruction, and deaths. One character is stabbed in the neck with a pen, and there's a lot of blood; another is smashed over the head with an appliance. A corpse is dealt with. Impending arson is implied. Characters cower in fear/peril.

Sex

Lots of flirting/banter, a couple of passionate kisses, and one scene in which a woman removes her shirt (no nudity shown), implying more action to come.

Language

Several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "hell," "ass," "a--hole," "goddamn," "oh my God," "damn," and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking and drinking (in a couple of cases to excess -- by minor characters), and some references to cocaine. Martin finds an old joint but doesn't smoke it; in another scene, a character does smoke pot.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Grosse Point Blank is a dark, quirky comedy about a professional assassin (John Cusack) -- so you can expect many violent confrontations and some blood. For example, in the opening scene, three men are brutally shot at close range; later, a character is stabbed and killed in the neck with a pen. Relationships are relatively mature, and there's strong language throughout, including "f--k" and "s--t." Characters also drink, smoke, and occasionally use/talk about drugs; there are one or two passionate kisses.

What's the story?

Martin Blank (John Cusack) left his family and friends in Grosse Pointe, Mich., behind him 10 years ago, ultimately becoming a hardened professional assassin. But when his latest assignment brings him back to town just in time for his 10th high school reunion, he starts questioning his choices and his path in life -- especially after he looks up old flame Debi (Minnie Driver) and realizes he still has feelings for her. Can he extricate himself from the violent life he's built for himself?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Cusack fans -- and there are many -- are bound to enjoy GROSSE POINTE BLANK, which is a quirky mix of dark humor, startling violence, and banter-filled romance. There are traces of Cusack's iconic Say Anything character Lloyd Dobler in the angsty, quippy Martin Blank -- if Lloyd's relationship with Diane had gone off the rails, you could almost picture the kickboxing underdog channeling his pain into Martin's deadly lifestyle.

Though Cusack, Driver, and the rest of their Grosse Pointe High classmates seem a bit too old to be having their 10th reunion (15th probably didn't have quite the same hook?), the reunion setting offers lots of opportunities for both humor and self-reflection ... amid chases and fights, of course. Cusack's sister Joan has a memorably funny supporting role as Martin's gung-ho assistant, and the movie's soundtrack -- which includes Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now," the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun," and '80s hit "Take on Me" -- is strong enough to rival a Cameron Crowe film. It may be too offbeat for some, but if you like your comedy pitch-black and your romances full of snappy rejoinders, Grosse Pointe Blank is a fun entry in Cusack's canon.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Martin's character. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? How does Grosse Pointe Blank get you to feel empathy for an assassin?

  • How does the violence in this movie compare to others you've seen? How is its impact affected by the movie's overall tone?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 12, 2000
DVD release date:November 10, 2000
Cast:Dan Aykroyd, John Cusack, Minnie Driver
Director:George Armitage
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Comedy
Topics:High school, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence, language and some drug content

This review of Grosse Pointe Blank was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byexa121RC January 9, 2012
age 13+
 

Excellent action comedy for teens and up

This is an excellent action-comedy about a professional hit-man who builds a romantic relationship with his former prom date while visiting his hometown on a mission to assassinate an important person. It is a bit tame for an R rating, it contains occasional strong language and infrequent but strong violence, though not overly so. I'm mature (not to brag) and I first watched it at 9 but for average kids, 13 and up is definitely OK.
Parent of a 2 year old Written bygerbowski December 8, 2012
age 15+
 

Darkly comic film is actually pretty good

This movie is a pretty funny, but dark comedy with quite a bit of violence. Since its about a hit-man, that's understandable, and most of it fits well within the story-line. John Cusack is very good as the serious, but funny assassin going back home for his high school reunion. Most older teens should be ok with this one, as the violence is not gratuitous.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 February 27, 2015
age 15+
 

Dark comedy never takes things too seriously

One of my all-time favorite movies features hitmen contemplating their lives: "In Bruges," and the instant attraction of the similarity of plots and the four big names headlining the movie made me watch it! I haven't seen a great deal of John Cusack's 80s work: I've seen the better part of "Better Off Dead," haven't seen "Say Anything" and HAVE seen him in "2012." So you'll forgive me when I say I like him but just don't care about him a great deal. "GPB" changed that indefinitely. His charisma onscreen is alarming, his chemistry with his therapist, love interest and rival all share a warmth to them, even if he is quite snarky. He just completely carries this film, and the credits given to him show that he was heavily involved, co-writing and co-producing this as well. It's a passion project for sure. The only one they waste is Alan Arkin as a kind of therapist, he doesn't really go anywhere except to serve as exposition. But oh boy, Cusack's rapid-fire exchanges with Minnie Driver (perfect American accent BTW) and especially his diner sequence with Dan Akroyd, who has a ball here, are electric. My biggest complaint here is that there was fat to trim, and when he interacts with the quirky characters of Grosse Pointe, those are the moments that lose me. But I'm glad I watched it, I recommend it to older movie-loving teens and up out there, and even though it's not on par with "In Bruges" (especially the harshly rushed ending), it certainly deserves an honorable mention.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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