Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)

Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Romance
  • Director: Kelly Makin
  • Cast: Hugh Grant, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Caan


An art-house auctioneer finds himself getting in deeper and deeper with the mob after learning that his teacher girlfriend is the daughter of a major mobster. Things get worse when a godfather decides to launder his no-talent son’s gory paintings through the art house and gets the FBI into the picture. Everything then falls apart when the son is accidentally shot.


  • The basic plot summary for “Mickey Blue Eyes” showed a lot of potential: mild-mannered English auctioneer gets sucked into the mob business of his future bride’s family. Unfortunately, the story line, casting and direction leave most of the potential unrealized, simply because the whole story is so ridiculously implausible. The movie suffers from trying to mix parody, romance and drama.

    The intrinsic problem is that certain genres lend themselves to being parodied much more easily than others, e.g. horror and action/adventure are easy and concentration camps are tough. It is very hard to balance the ruthlessness that is the basis of mob life with the light-hearted antics one wishes to see in a comedy.

    Burt Young does a good job as a humorless mob boss but Jeanne Tripplehorn is totally miscast as a mobster’s daughter (Michelle Pfeiffer and Mercedes Ruell are far more convincing as mob wives than Jeanne Tripplehorn is as a mob daughter.) Hugh Grant is fine playing the role of Michael, the befuddled English romantic, but Michael’s attempt to portray “Mickey Blue Eyes” is ridiculous and tiresome.

    Overall, this movie could have been so much better if they had a better supporting cast! That said, if you enjoy Hugh grant movies, you’re probably going to enjoy this one.

  • Hugh Grant — he who is floppy of hair, furrowed of brow, blue of eye, stiff of upper lip, stammering of speech, and funny of run — plays Michael, a witty and charming auctioneer who somehow finds himself leading a double life as Mickey Blue Eyes.

    Michael is in love with Gina, whose haircut exudes upper class but whose profession is that of a teacher in a public school. She seems to love him too so it’s a bit difficult for him to understand why he has yet to meet her father Frank (James Caan). All she’ll let on is that he owns a restaurant: The La Trattoria. That’s right — “the the restaurant.” When she refuses Michael’s wedding proposal and he goes in search of her, he finally does meet Frank and some other. . .relatives, including Vinny (Joe Viterelli) and Uncle Vito (Burt Young).

    When Michael tells her that he’s met and loves her father, Gina fesses up. Uncle Vito heads up a crime family and Frank is part of the organization. If she and Michael continue seeing each other, he’ll become like her father. “I don’t want to marry your father,” he insists. But you’ll have to, she counters, whether you like it or not. Well, Michael is not about to let the one woman he loves so greatly go over some mobsters, so they make a pact: Gina will help him maneuver his way through the favors the family will extend and Michael will be sure to apprise her of any such incidents.

    Easier said than done. Once they’re engaged, the family does extend a helping hand though Michael doesn’t realize it at first. The delivery trucks for the auction house are now arriving on time, and the delivery men are even apologizing for their past tardiness. Oh, and Sotheby’s accidentally burns down. In return, Uncle Vito wants Michael to auction off some paintings done by his hotheaded son. These are the kind of paintings people would pay money not to be in the same room with, Michael tells Frank. It’s better for you if you do the favor for the family, Frank advises and promises to clear everything up with Uncle Vito by the time Gina and Michael return from their honeymoon.

    Again, easier said than done. A body turns up dead. Another crime family is accused. The FBI suspect the auction house is laundering money for the mob. Gina has discovered the truth. And there’s still a wedding and a mob hit, with Michael as the target and Frank as the shooter, to go.

    On the whole, Mickey Blue Eyes serves as a fine vehicle for the excellent talents of Grant, who combines elements of the romantic hero and comic buffoon with dash and facility. Though he’s well-matched by a frisky Caan, he’s ill-paired with the miscast Tripplehorn who is most appealing when she’s not onscreen.

    The whole point of Mickey Blue Eyes is to view Grant, the restrained but irrepressible Brit, clash with the earthy and emotional Italians. More interesting though is the equation screenwriters Adam Scheinman and Robert Kuhn posit: marriage = doom. And that the path to matrimony requires misunderstandings, personality changes and perhaps even a bit of blood on the collar. Though happily ever after does come at the final frame, it is the waiting for death that pervades the wedding reception. And so it comes down to this: marriage — is it an offer he can’t refuse? As Michael would say so crisply, “Forget about it.”

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