The other Hugh Grant
film of summer 1999, Mickey Blue Eyes is the second feature to come out
of his and girlfriend Liz Hurleys 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
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
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 dont 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, its a romantic comedy that offers more genuine entertainment value
than many other over-hyped, star-laden movies.