With guns that fall out of pant legs, a lap-dancing moment, a caricature of a gay FBI man, and giggling bridesmaids, the film simply disappears into its own quicksand.

MICKEY BLUE EYES

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


What happens when a group of self-conscious filmmakers decides to shoot for a box-office bull's-eye? Mickey Blue Eyes is what happens. Hugh Grant and his longtime companion, Elizabeth Hurley, who co-produced with Charles Mulvehill, never took their eyes off the prize, but they hired the wrong actors, the wrong writers, and the wrong director. Their movie is glossy, ambitious, and flat. Inspiration and timing, the essentials of romantic comedy, are nowhere to be seen. The movie is soaked in annoying cuteness.

Mr. Grant needs Julia Roberts, who gave him such a grand foil in Notting Hill, where the two of them applied crack comic timing to superior fluff. It isn't entirely Jeanne Tripplehorn's fault that she can't help her co-star more in Mickey. Her primary assignment here is to respond, and she does that well, but she is sidelined, out of the action, on this dreary field. They never throw her the ball.

This leaves Hugh Grant to do it all. Surrounded by a weak cast and a script rooted in the implied and actual brutality of gangsters, he simply can't pull it off, his fabled charm notwithstanding. Consider the premise: Michael (Mr. Grant) and Gina (Ms. Tripplehorn) love each other. Gina is the daughter of Frank (James Caan), a third- level mobster who runs a restaurant that is a stereotypical gathering place for his fellow mobsters.

To win his girl, Michael, newly christened "Mickey Blue Eyes of Kansas City," must learn the habits and accents of his prospective family. This vein is mined quickly and badly. Mr. Grant simply cannot produce enough of a thuggish American accent to make the central premise work. Each time the joke is imposed on us, it is embarrassing.

The mobsters are an especially overwrought group with the exception of James Caan, who seems to have an intuitive sense that his colleagues are making fools of themselves. He is almost appealing in this unappetizing stew. We must endure a whimpering assistant, a blithering photographer, and a bland, cake-baking neighbor who needs personality, or at least adrenaline, to make her point. All of these contrivances fail because the supporting cast is terrible. The whole thing feels like a warmed-over meal.

And there is the problem of lines: there just aren't many good ones. For a few introductory moments as Michael the Brit meets his new Manhattan family--Vinnie, Uncle Vito, and Frank--the promise of fun hangs in the air. It's amazing that nothing is made of it. From that point right through to the frantic ending contrived for our laughing pleasure, the movie is labored. This is a bad script.

The sight of Hugh Grant burying a body by the river in the moonlight is jarring. Murder is not funny these days. With guns that fall out of pant legs, a lap-dancing moment, a caricature of a gay FBI man, and giggling bridesmaids, the film simply disappears into its own quicksand.


Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 498
Studio : Castle Rock Entertainment
Rating : PG-13
Running time : 1h42m


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