Hot off the success of NOTTING HILL, Hugh Grant seeks to pad his leading man resurgence as an elegant, debonair Englishman (what else?) who runs an auction house in New York City. Very similar to ANALYZE THIS, Grant plays the dupe who gets further and further mixed up in the mob and pulls himself out again with luck and the love of a good woman in MICKEY BLUE EYES.
This pure-entertainment driven movie begins with Michael Felgate (Grant) goofing up his proposal of marriage to his girlfriend Gina (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Nevertheless, Gina gets the message and says – “No!” Michael can’t understand and goes to Gina’s father, Frank (James Caan, a GODFATHER alum), a restaurateur in Little Italy.
Frank is overjoyed at Michael’s proposal of marriage. Frank thinks Michael wants to join “the family” and pursue the family “business” – organized crime. Immediately, Michael sees his auction house as a place of money laundering. Gina’s brother’s ghastly blasphemous paintings mixing religion and murder are introduced by force to bidders, and Michael starts a series of lies to Gina to ease her fears. A body appears, Michael is blamed, and Michael soon discovers that Frank has been ordered to “take care” of him. Through involving the FBI and a fake shooting on Michael’s wedding night, Michael and Gina hope to stop her family’s criminal lifestyle for good.
While Billy Crystal’s academic and social world was upended in ANALYZE THIS, Grant’s English sense of decorum and marriage plans are also inexplicably intertwined with bumbling, hardheaded thugs who want respect, i.e., compliance or death. Grant does wonderfully in the type of role he does best, the stuttering dupe whose world crashes down around him. James Fox, another English actor, gets in on the shock with some wonderful character work. Likewise, the usual Italian actor suspects are rounded up for the standard mob crows, some of them borrowed directly from ANALYZE THIS.
While most of the content is low-key and not offensive, Christians will be initially shocked to see a few paintings with religious imagery mixed with violence, including an image of our Savior with a machine gun. Yet, perhaps in divine justice (or at least by the hand of the screenwriter), the painter of these blasphemous pictures meets an early demise. Also, through cunning, and a commitment to marriage, the true criminal members of Gina’s family are brought to justice, so that Michael and Gina can live out their days in peace.
ANALYZE THIS did very well at the box office, but it is unclear if mob comedies can strike twice.
Mildly moral worldview of turning away from crime culminating in a Christian marriage plus pagan elements including disregard for human life by some characters & blasphemous image of Christ with machine gun on painting; 12 obscenities, 13 profanities & 2 mildly sexually suggestive jokes; accidental shooting resulting in death with some blood, threats with guns & shooting pretend gun which triggers squibs emptying fake blood; no sex; upper male nudity, rear female nudity on painting & cleavage images; alcohol use; smoking; and, manipulation, money laundering, extortion, bullying, & rudeness.