Hugh Grant is charming and amusing
in a romantic gangster-film parody
|"Mickey Blue Eyes"
Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
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Hugh Grant is on a bit of a winning streak in 1999. First, the captivatingly charming (and box-office smash) "Notting Hill," now this low-key underrated romantic comedy.
Grant plays Michael Felgate, a dapper, suave man who auctions fine art in New York City. He's got a successful business, and he's about to propose to Gina, his gorgeous girlfriend (Jeanne Tripplehorn), with whom he is madly in love. That's when things begin to go horribly wrong.
Gina turns down his proposal, initially, and runs off in tears. Mystified, a despondent Michael seeks out her restaurant-owning dad (James Caan), whom he hadn't met before, to see if he can locate the distraught Gina. The two hit it off immediately and Dad is eager as all get out to make Michael one of the family.
Trouble is, what Caan and his Uncle Vito (Burt Young) really have in mind is to make Michael one of The Family. Gina warns Michael about this, but Michael wins her over with a promise not to get sucked into their criminal activities.
Naturally, he immediately gets sucked into their criminal activities, and things go rapidly downhill from there. In order to cover up his broken promise, Michael is forced to lie to his fiancee, which leads to further complications. Eventually, Michael runs afoul of the wrong people and his family is chosen to whack their new son-in-law. At the wedding.
The movie is surprisingly funny as the ever-stammering Grant tries to take on the persona of a made man, trying not to sound like the sophisticated Brit he is. The fish-out-of-water element is played up nicely as Grant stumbles over things as simple as keeping his gun in his belt. One of the running jokes here is that many of the mobsters have neuroses, in a sly jab at the HBO series "The Sopranos." Finally, the ending is a swerve you can see a thousand miles off, but which is approached creatively and is appreciated all the more for it.
"Mickey Blue Eyes" is a sly satire of Scorsese's mob movies, but never loses sight of its romantic agenda. Grant is a very appealing lead and after his personal life misstep is showing signs of becoming one of Hollywood's most bankable romantic men. His charm grows with every movie he makes. This movie didn't get a lot of acclaim at its release; it deserved more.
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