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What's the story?
When Michael Felgate (Hugh Grant), who runs an auction house, proposes to Gina (Jeanne Tripplehorn), she refuses because of her family. Trying to figure out why, Michael discovers Gina's father Frank (James Caan) is a Mafia kingpin. Michael soon begins to do some favors for Frank, and ends up laundering money through his auction house and comes to be known as Mickey Blue Eyes to rival mafia families.
Is it any good?
Basic Movie Plot #2 is the fish out of water, and that is because it works so well. Whether we're talking about a mermaid coming to Manhattan, a guy from the Australian outback coming to Manhattan, or Dorothy in Oz, we are easily engaged by stories like these because they have automatic tension and conflict and because they give us a chance to look at ourselves and our culture in new ways. Now we have a very similar theme in MICKEY BLUE EYES, except this time it's a wiseguy and a very proper English art auctioneer. I'm sure it sounded great in the pitch meeting, but then the pitch probably left out the tired and pedestrian script and a couple of astonishingly poor plot developments that thwart the movie's many efforts to win us over.
Hugh Grant does his best, and he is, as ever, a pleasure to watch. And there are some clever lines and some funny moments. But a romantic comedy, even a fairly broad one, needs to have essentially likeable characters and a consistent tone, and this movie fails in both. Near the beginning, Grant's character tries to sneak a marriage proposal into a fortune cookie, but the scene becomes unfunny and ultimately downright nasty as the owner of the restaurant shrieks at Grant's girlfriend to eat the cookie and at another table another woman gets the proposal and then bursts into tears when she finds out it is a mistake. Later, a rather unsavory character is shot by mistake and it is supposed to be humorous that Grant and his future father-in-law bond over disposing of the body. Meanwhile, there are many missed opportunities for follow-through on set- ups, an indication of a movie that spent a lot of time in post-production revisions.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 20, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: December 28, 1999
- Cast: Hugh Grant, James Caan, Jeanne Tripplehorn
- Director: Kelly Makin
- Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brief strong language, some violence and sensuality
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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