Grosse Pointe Blank

April 11th, 1997


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Still of Minnie Driver in Grosse Pointe BlankStill of John Cusack in Grosse Pointe BlankStill of John Cusack and Minnie Driver in Grosse Pointe BlankStill of Alan Arkin in Grosse Pointe BlankGrosse Pointe BlankStill of Jeremy Piven in Grosse Pointe Blank

Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 7.4/10 (47,911 voted)

Critic's Score: 76/100

Director: George Armitage

Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd

Martin Blank is a freelance hitman who starts to develop a conscience, which causes him to muff a couple of routine assignments. On the advice of his secretary and his psychiatrist, he attends his 10th year High School reunion in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (a Detroit suburb where he's also contracted to kill someone). Hot on his tail are a couple of over-enthusiastic federal agents, another assassin who wants to kill him, and Grocer, an assassin who wants him to join an "Assassin's Union."

Writers: Tom Jankiewicz, Tom Jankiewicz

John Cusack - Martin Q. Blank
Minnie Driver - Debi Newberry
Alan Arkin - Dr. Oatman
Dan Aykroyd - Grocer
Joan Cusack - Marcella
Hank Azaria - Steven Lardner
K. Todd Freeman - Kenneth McCullers
Jeremy Piven - Paul Spericki
Mitch Ryan - Mr. Bart Newberry (as Mitchell Ryan)
Michael Cudlitz - Bob Destepello
Benny Urquidez - Felix La PuBelle
Duffy Taylor - Ultimart Carl
Audrey Kissel - Arlene
Carlos Jacott - Ken
Brian Powell - Husky Man

Taglines: A comedy about a hit man, a high school reunion, and the girl he left behind.

Release Date: 11 April 1997

Filming Locations: Ambassador Hotel - 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $6,870,397 (USA) (13 April 1997) (1227 Screens)

Gross: $28,014,536 (USA) (10 August 1997)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Minnie Driver tells John Cusack at her apartment that he's a "...psycho," she can be seen moving her hand as though talking. In an interview, Cusack said that this was an ad-lib, as she had seen John and Joan Cusack doing something similar with each other on the set, off-camera.

Continuity: While Martin and Debbi are talking in the radio station, the length of the middle pendant of Debbi's neck lass continues to change from camera angle to camera angle

Marcella: Don't hang up! Wait! Did ya' read yesterday's offer?
Marty: Hold on a minute.
Marcella: It's in French. It's a Greenpeace boat. It'd be so easy.
Marty: No way! I have scruples.

User Review

Firing Blanks & a little romance

Rating: 8/10

I love this film! Starring John Cusack, England's patriotically-named Minnie Driver, plus Dan Ackroyd, Alan Arkin & Joan Cusack, ‘Grosse Pointe Blank' is funny, clever, action-packed & has a great ‘eighties soundtrack.

John Cusack - as the film's protagonist Martin Blank - is superb, & virtually carries the whole movie. He plays an assassin who started out working for the U.S. Government but has now gone freelance, having managed to rationalise his cold-blooded killing. He is an amoral, sharp, ruthless killer, but also vulnerably human, neurotic, conscience-ridden, tender & romantic. Despite these ostensibly impossible personality contradictions, you never once question that his character is real, you can't help but like the guy, & never stop hoping that things work out for him. Pulling this off is a remarkable achievement & Cusack does it brilliantly.

He reluctantly accepts a commission that takes him back to his hometown, Grosse Pointe, coincidentally at exactly the same time as his old High School reunion. While there he visits his childhood sweetheart, local DJ Debi (Driver), for the first time in 10 years – when in a fit of madness he had ditched her on their prom night to run off & join the army. As neither she nor anyone else had heard anything from him since then, her feelings about this are understandably rather mixed!

Blank visits his institutionalised Mum & the family home, which to his great distress is now an ‘Ultimart', & eventually convinces Debi to go with him to the reunion. His reacquaintances with his former schoolmates are very funny & even quite touching, & are sure to strike a chord with anyone who's ever been to one of those things.

Meanwhile various other assassins, chief of which is Blank's rival Grocer (Ackroyd – brilliant as ever) are out to kill him. Their reasons are many & varied – mainly involving an ‘Assassin's union', secret Government operations & a dead dog (yes, really!). As you can probably guess, these are not the sort of things that are conducive to a successful High School reunion, & mayhem ensues.

‘Grosse Pointe Blank' is extremely funny, full of deadpan, twisted humour - mainly from Cusack, but ably supported by Ackroyd & Arkin. I particularly liked the running gag of Blank's response to the inevitable "what do you do for a living?" question: a completely matter-of-fact "professional killer", which of course not one person takes seriously. I also loved the hilariously neurotic exchanges between Blank & his hounded shrink (Arkin), who ends every conversation with "Don't kill anyone!" There's also a lovely little story involving a pen...

The film is also a great action flick - it has some brilliantly choreographed & executed gunfight & hand-to-hand fight sequences – in fact some of the best I've ever seen. Cusack looks, or at least is made to look, like a pretty decent athlete himself. The finale is a real tour-de-force, & for me sums up the movie itself: a great gunfight, clever & hilariously funny.

This film is wonderful from start to finish – if you haven't done so already, see it now!