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Mickey Blue Eyes

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
Movie:

"Mickey Blue Eyes", a film that's been sitting on the shelf for the better part of the year, stars Hugh Grant as a New York art auctioner finding himself increasingly involved in his future bride's family, who turn out to be the family. It's a fairly good premise for a film and for the first hour, the film scores with quite a few suprisingly big laughs. James Caan stars as the father of Grant's future bride, played by Jeneane Tripplehorn. When the film starts off and gets into the plot, the film stays sitcom-light and is able to mine some easy laughs from scenes like Grant recieving insane paintings from the mobster's psycho son that he has to sell through his auction house.

Tripplehorn's character doesn't play much of a role in the proceedings, popping up occasionally to dissaprove of Michael(Grant's) increasing involvement with the Mafia. She's definitely wrong for the role, as little a role as it is: she's annoying throughout, not funny or even has any chemistry with Grant. Of course, she's right to worry as soon Grant is becoming a member of the Mafia under his own new name: Mickey Blue Eyes. Grant plays it all well, especially during the scenes where he has to "transform" into "Mickey Blue Eyes" and fake a New York accent. Other than that, he's doing the same Grant performance, only without(or at least not as much) of the annoying stuttering he's had in previous roles.

Where it all takes a turn for the worse though, is about an hour into the film, where it takes a rather violent turn and doesn't come back. The last half of the movie is suprisingly somewhat dark and in direct contrast with the sort of light tone of the film's first half. It never really returns after that, with the exception of a few small laughs during the final scene. The direction is a tad questionable here; at first the film does go as planned, but as the film rounds into its second half, it seems to want to turn into an actual mob movie. Grant has obviously had a hand in the making of this film, since he produced it(with partner Elizabeth Hurley). Beyond the choices the film takes as it ends, one would think that he would have gone after material that was more suited to the kind of actor he is. When he tries to transform himself into "Mickey Blue Eyes", we laugh, but personally, it doesn't look as if he's comfortable in the role. Caan seems fine with the role of a mob member who, at heart, wants the best for his daughter- but, he's not exactly the most energetic actor, or the best at playing comedy.

Did this really need to sit on the shelf for the better part of the year? Not really. It certainly isn't that bad and I was suprised by how much I enjoyed at least some of the film. For Grant, I'd certainly suggest looking for a different brand of script next time that can stand up to the kind of quality that was evident in "Notting Hill" and "4 Weddings and a Funeral". "Mickey Blue Eyes" is maybe worth seeing at a matinee, but you may want to think twice before spending full price.

The DVD

VIDEO:
"Mickey Blue Eyes" recieves an outstanding transfer from Warner Brothers for this DVD edition. Anamorphic and letterboxed at 1.85:1(there's also a full-frame edition on the flip-side), the picture quality is gorgeous. Images are sharp, but not overly sharp, looking smooth and clean. Colors are rich and natural, looking well-saturated and vibrant throughout. This is a natural and beautiful looking image throughout, and a little richer in general than when I saw it in the theater. Detail is excellent throughout and contrast is very good as well. Flesh tones are natural and accurate. There really aren't any flaws to speak of; no pixelization or shimmering and the print used is free of any sort of flaws. Some of the scenes, especially on the streets of the city, achieve almost a "three-dimensional" feel. Day or night scenes both look fantastic, with good colors and detail. Excellent work.

SOUND: There's really not a whole lot to it; a pleasant enough score leads the viewer through in terms of audio, while the film itself is mainly focused on the dialogue. There's really nothing much in terms of surround use, and the score sounds clear and crisp. Dialogue is clear and without problems as well. Pretty much the norm for most comedies.

MENUS:: Basic menu art with music from the movie in the background.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary by director Kelly Makin, who starts off the commentary by discussing in great depth about how he became involved with the movie and the production history that the film went through on its way to the screen. It's really quite interesting hearing the director talking about the research that he had to do for the design of the auction house and auctioneers in general and how he tailored that to developing the auction set.

Like most commentaries, he also goes into a good deal of conversation about working with the various actors who make up the rather large cast and I found his comments interesting to listen to because of just pointing out people, he goes into a number of stories about how they were cast and also, gives details about how actors are worked into a scene. There's also quite a bit of discussion about the certain brand of humor that makes up the film and how Grant and himself worked on the screenplay. I even found the viewpoints that he shared on how scenes are structured to be interesting to listen to.

There are some small pauses in the commentary, but they never become distracting. Like the image quality, I was really very pleased with this commentary. While I wasn't expecting much, I found the director's comments to be informative. While he doesn't sound too energetic, his comments still are quite interesting.

Also:Trailer, production notes, cast/crew bios.




Final Thoughts Recommended at least as a rental.

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