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MICKEY BLUE EYES

SYNOPSIS:
Michael Felgate (Hugh Grant), an English auctioneer working in New York City, proposes to his girlfriend of three months Gina Vitale (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Tearfully she refuses his proposal and when Michael meets Gina's father Frank (James Caan) it becomes obvious he has been turned down to spare him becoming involved in the organized crime family in which Frank is a prominent member. Michael promises to avoid any 'family' entanglements but finds himself compromised almost immediately by putting up for auction a series of dreadful paintings done by Johnny (John Ventimiglia), the unhinged nephew of mob kingpin Uncle Vito (Burt Young). Matters worsen when Michael becomes an accessory to murder and is forced to pose as Chicago wiseguy 'Mickey Blue Eyes', a deception which will hopefully keep him alive long enough to win Gina back.

"Although derivative and contrived, Mickey Blue Eyes is an entertaining Mafia-comedy with some fun moments and wacky ideas, albeit with the miscasting of Hugh Grant. A cross pollination of Analyze This and Notting Hill with a dash of The Godfather, Married to the Mob and The Sting, this new Hugh Grant vehicle once again shows him playing the bumbling, stumbling charmer of the Englishman. In Four Weddings and a Funeral (who can forget that wonderful foot-in-mouth scene) and Notting Hill, we are seduced by his charm and genuinely believe his response to his situations. The faux-pas, the blundering, the stuttering – all irresistible stuff. It's not the far-fetched nature of the plot that is the problem –there are some wonderful over-the-top ideas that are very funny – it's the fact that we just don't believe the character. How can bumbling, stumbling feel real, when bullets are ricocheting and Grant's nice-guy Michael just can't be believably frightened, even when his life is threatened? Playing it for laughs doesn't work. But if you are a Hugh Grant fan, you will probably enjoy the film anyhow. Terrific casting in the shape of Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Caan and Joe Viterelli with James Fox a droll British art gallery colleague. The set up is fun and the humour creeps up on you, even though some of it is a tad heavyhanded; I especially like the scene in the Chinese restaurant where the fortune cookie escapade goes horribly wrong. A flippant frolic."
Louise Keller

"Louise is very kind; the film falls into the trap of wanting to be a comedy so badly that it twists our arms, slaps us in the forehead and tries tickling our ribcage to elicit laughs. In the process, we can't believe any of it, which rather deflates the exercise, since it's not as off the wall as it likes to think. The Brits involved, like producer Hurley and star Grant, should know very well that you can't out-do the Brits' sense of the bizarre; you need to be seriously and genuinely eccentric to pull it off. This lot just isn't. Minister for Silly Walks ring a well? Python ring a bell? Basil ring a bell? Mickey Blue Eyes fails to ring any bells, I'm afraid, turning turgid when it should be turning purple with choking laughter. Looking good on paper is only the start; the characters have to be real, the fear has to be real, so does the romance. Hugh Grant and Jeanne Tripplehorn looks like casting made to avoid genuine sexual chemistry. Grant never does have much of that sexual stuff, but in this pairing, it's not even a distant possibility. The few moments of good comedy are swamped by tedium."
Andrew L. Urban

"Married To The Mob in reverse isn't such a bad idea but it needs a more substantial centre than the permanently perplexed Hugh Grant can offer. His trademark bumbling and blundering works in the early stages but when the stakes are raised and he's involved in real danger there's no perceptible shift in tone. It all seems like a spot of bother which he'll have to sort out before the brandy and cigars arrive. The mob comedy machinations seem tired in the wake of Analyze This although the casting of James Caan (his 70's macho man persona still in good shape) and Burt Young as big boss Vito provides much needed bolstering. The amazing Joe Vitarelli, born to play heavies called Louie or Vinnie, is also wonderful to have around at times like this. The biggest laughs I had came when the gloriously hideous paintings by Vito's son Johnny were displayed. Depictions of Jesus with a machine gun and firing squads wearing lingerie and clown masks are so lovingly done they beg to be showcased in a major exhibition. There are funny sequences here but most are supplied by supporting characters and far too few by the sorely miscast Grant who looks at home on the auctioneer's stand but doesn't know what to do out on the mean streets."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

See our DVD REVIEW

MICKEY BLUES EYES (M)
(US)

CAST: Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Cann, Burt Young, James Fox, Joe Viterelli

DIRECTOR: Carl Gottlieb, Kelly Makin

PRODUCER: Elizabeth Hurley, Charles Mulvehill, Karen Smith

SCRIPT: Adam Scheinman, Robert Kuhn, Marc Lawrence (uncredited)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald E.Thorin

EDITOR: David Freeman

MUSIC: Basil Poledouris

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gregory P.Keen

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: November 18, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: April 19, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video

DVD RELEASE: April 2000

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video







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