Copyright 2000 www.cosmopolis.ch Louis Gerber All rights
Mickey Blue Eyes
Hugh Grant and James Caan Directed by Kelly Makin and
written by Adam Scheinman and Robert Kuhn. With Hugh Grant (Michael
Felgate), James Caan (Frank Vitale), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Gina Vitale),
Burt Young (uncle Vito Graziosi), James Fox (Philip Cromwell), Scott
Thompson (FBI Agent Lewis) and Joe Viterelli (Vinnie). Get Mickey
Blue Eyes on DVD from Amazon.com,
Michael Felgate (Hugh Grant) is an
art auctioneer at Cromwell's who makes more or less funny remarks such as
"sold for $23,000, or $11,500 per buddock" (regarding a nude). He is
in love with Gina Vitale (Jeanne Tripplehorn), a
schoolteacher who happens to be the daughter of mobster Frank Vitale (James
Caan). Gina wants to protect her friend Michael from the mob and therefore
declines his awkward proposal of marriage made in a Chinese restaurant with a
female owner who mixes up Michael's "proposal fortune cookie" with
the one for a couple on another table. The scene is rude but has its
Michael insists and goes to her father's
restaurant The La Trattoria (he had earlier remarked to Gina that La
already means The). Accidentally, instead of the toilets, he walks into
a freezing room where he finds a trembling man. But Michael still does not
realize what type of family he wants to marry into. With the song We Are
Family in the background - he asks her father for Gina's hand in marriage. Due to
some misunderstandings, Michael gets embraced by the "family".
Gina tells him who uncle Vito (Burt Young),
the "butcher" Graziosi, Vinnie "The Shrimp" D'Agostino (Joe
Viterelli) and all the others are. But Michael insists and, finally, Gina give
in and marries him, which has far-reaching consequences. Suddenly, the art objects
for the auction house he works for arrive in time. The mobsters
"resolved" the delivery problems. But they also start laundering money through Grant's auction house,
by selling "art", horrible paintings by Graziosi's son, through the
gallery. At the same time Sotheby's suffers a fire - Michael finds a Sotheby's
matchbox as a clear sign on his office desk.
Things start going out of hand.
Michael refuses to sell a painting by Graziosi's son Johnny, Gina's cousin, to
an old lady who misunderstood several gestures by Michael which were not meant
Johnny is upset because he could have made a lot more money than he first thought.
He comes to see Michael at home and starts beating him up. Gina accidentally
kills him with a bullet which ricochets.
Father Frank comes in to handle the case (a
reference to Pulp Fiction). When Michael and Frank Vitale try to bury
Johnny at night, they find another team doing the same nearby.
Frank: "That's Big Mickey from Kansas City".
The mobsters: "I thought Big Mickey was dead?"
Frank: "The father. This is Little Big Mickey."
The other gangster: "Wasn't there a Little Big Mickey out of Chicago?"
Frank: "Yes. That was the original Little Big Mickey. This is Little Big
Mickey Blue Eyes."
That's how Franks introduces Michael into the larger "family" and how
Michael gets his name - and the film its title.
Mickey Blue Eyes is a romantic
(gangster) comedy and, therefore, after some other complications, the happy
ending comes as no surprise. Not all the lines are funny by far and not all actors,
e.g. not Jeanne Tripplehorn, are convincing. Hugh Grant continues to try to
create a career based on his one innocent look and some stammering. For Mickey
Blue Eyes, a film which all in all is entertaining without leaving a lasting
expression, this may work, but it won't be enough for a whole acting career
since he does not have the talent of Cary Grant.
Biography & filmography
Hugh Grant: In 1982 while at Oxford
University, he made the movie Privileged. In
1987, he was part of Merchant-Ivory production of Maurice, E.M.
Forsterís account of a young man at the turn of the century
confronting his homosexuality. This role brought him
first international acclaim and a Best Actor award at the
Venice Film Festival.
This led to a succession of film roles, including The
Dawning and Impromptu. In 1993, Grant was reunited with director James Ivory in
his role as a journalist in The Remains of the Day (starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma
Thompson). In 1995, Grant appeared as Edward Ferrars in the
Oscar-winning adaptation of Jane Austenís, Sense and
Among Hugh Grant's comedies are Four
Weddings and a Funeral (Golden
Globe and British Academy Awards for Grant), Nine Months and Notting
Hill. Other films include: Bitter Moon, Sirens, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But
Came Down a Mountain. Grant also appeared on TV
and worked on stage, e.g. with director Richard Wilson in An
Inspector Calls at Manchester's Royal Exchange
Theatre. Mickey Blue Eyes is the second feature film from Simian
Films, the company owned by Grant and (his former
girlfriend) Elizabeth Hurley. The first movie was: Extreme
Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tripplehorn moved to
New York, where she attended the Juilliard School of Drama.
She made her
motion picture debut in 1992 in Paul
Verhoeven's Basic Instinct opposite
Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone.
She also played in Sliding Doors and Very Bad Things, Kevin
Waterworld, etc. On stage, she starred e.g. as Masha in
the stage version of Chekov's The Three Sisters.
James Caan: He was born in the Bronx and raised in Queens, New York. He did not want to follow in his father's
footsteps and work in the family meat business. He entered
Michigan State University at age 16 to study economics and
play football. He transferred to Hofstra University to study
law and, during a spring break, was interviewed by and
accepted into Stanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse.
Caan then won a scholarship to study with Wynn
Caan began his career on stage in the 1961 Off-Broadway
production of La Ronde.
Television roles quickly followed, ranging from guest
appearances on Naked City to regular
appearances on The Untouchables and Alfred Hitchcock
Presents. His feature film debut was in 1964 in Lady in a Cage, films
such as Glory Guys and Eldorado followed. He was Academy Award-nominated
for his performance as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and for his Emmy-nominated
portrayal of football star Brian Piccolo in
Brian's Song. He received The
Hollywood Film Festival's Achievement in
Acting award for his body of work.
Other films include Eraser and Rob Reiner's psychological thriller Misery
on the novel by Stephen King.
Joe Viterelli: He is one of my favorite "minor" actors.
Unfortunately, he remains pale in Mickey Blue Eyes, largely due to the
script. For more
than 25 years he had been offered acting opportunities from
producers, casting directors and directors, including his
longtime friend, filmmaker Leo Penn. Viterelli declined them all
until 1981, when Sean Penn called and said they were having
difficulty casting a character from the Lower East Side in a
film that was shooting on location in Viterelli's
old neigbourhood on Mott Street. That screen test led to a
major role in Phil Joanou's "State of
motion-picture debut. He has appeared in some 30
films, including Analyze This
(review in German), Eraser and Woody
Allen's Bullets Over Broadway.