FILM OF THE MONTH
Also recommended
From the September 1999
Film Review

Film Review Hotline
MICKEY BLUE EYES
4 Stars
Hugh Grant and Jeanne Tripplehorn - a happy couple, or married to the mob?
“They’ve created a mobster!”
STARS: Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Caan, James Fox, Burt Young
DIRECTOR: Kelly MakinSCREENPLAY:
Adam Scheinman, Robert Kuhn
CERTIFICATE: 12 TBC DISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: Universal Pictures International
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 42mins TBC
OPENING DATE (UK): August 20

The other Hugh Grant film of summer 1999, Mickey Blue Eyes is the second feature to come out of his and girlfriend Liz Hurley’s Simian Films stable and shows a return to more familiar territory after the ambitious but flawed medical thriller Extreme Measures. Adopting the always welcome ‘fish out of water’ scenario, Grant plays the kind of effortlessly urbane, oh-so-English upper class type with which (rightly or wrongly) he is most often identified.

Life in New York is blissfully happy for Michael (Grant). He is in charge of a small but successful art auction house and has just plucked up the courage to propose to girlfriend Gina (Tripplehorn). But when she turns him down he is devastated and demands to know why.

The reason is her family. The Family. Her Dad, Frank (Caan) and her Uncle Vito (Young) have some very dubious Mob connections and Gina is keen that they don’t get their claws into her innocent boyfriend. But Michael knows that the course of true love is littered with foolhardy acts and sets about laying down some ground rules for the in-laws, regarding his future with the lovely Gina.

Foolhardy, of course, is not the same as funny but fortunately in this case the two sit comfortably side by side. Grant oozes diffident charm and genial good nature as Michael, sending himself up nicely as at one point he is forced to pose as a Mafia wise-guy – Mickey Blue Eyes – in a performance of Clouseau-esque vocal contortion.

The contrasts played out between his upper class English character and any number of American co-stars is hardly a new idea but is more convincing when played out in an American setting. For British audiences it surely seems all the more recognizable than the rarefied worlds of Four Weddings and A Funeral and Notting Hill, while the insight into Mob life for the callow stranger also has echoes of Analyze This.

With Film Review favourite Tripplehorn, Caan and Young solid in support, and James Fox adding a cheerful extended cameo, Mickey Blue Eyes is diverting fun. More than that, it’s a romantic comedy that offers more genuine entertainment value than many other over-hyped, star-laden movies.

Anwar Brett

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