Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
Thirty-something Rob Gordon, a former club DJ, owns a not so lucrative used record store in Chicago. He not so much employs Barry and Dick, but rather keeps them around as they showed up at the store one day and never left. All three are vinyl and music snobs, but in different ways. Rob has a penchant for compiling top five lists. The latest of these lists is his top five break-ups, it spurred by the fact that his latest girlfriend, Laura, a lawyer, has just broken up with him. He believed that Laura would be the one who would last, partly as an expectation of where he would be at this stage in his life. Rob admits that there have been a few incidents in their relationship which in and of themselves could be grounds for her to want to break up. To his satisfaction, Laura is not on this top five list. Rob feels a need not only to review the five relationships, which go back as far as middle school when he was twelve, and try to come to terms with why the woman, or girl as the case may ...
Barry blames Rob for wearing "a Cosby sweater"; later, a singer Marrie De Salle is introduced, played by Lisa Bonet, who also did the character of Denise Huxtable in The Cosby Show. See more »
When Caroline, the journalist, is speaking to Rob in the record store, her hairstyle changes. See more »
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?
See more »
After all the credits, the crackling out-groove of a vinyl album is heard. See more »
HIGH FIDELITY (2000) **** John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, Todd Louiso, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones (unbilled), Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack, Shannon Stillo, Tim Robbins, Joelle Carter, Natasha Gregson Wagner.
John Cusack is my favorite contemporary actor for many reasons, which due to time and space will not permit me to go into lavish detail, but it's basically down to a simple formula for me, that he continues to full tilt in his latest variation of the good hearted, somewhat sarcastic anti-hero with a heart of gold: Fearless Fragile Funny.
Based on the cult best selling international novel by Great Britain's Nick Hornby the story is transplanted from modern day London to modern day Chicago focusing all its angst and comic philosophies in its character, Rob Gordon (Cusack in one of his finest performances, who also co-wrote and produced the film),
the owner of a vintage LP album shop, `Championship Vinyl', who is having a pre-mid-life crisis in his life: namely his latest girlfriend, Laura (the fetching Danish actress Hjejle in her first American role), a lawyer, has just dumped him and the fact that he may have to grow up or come to terms with his existence of being a den mother to his yin and yang clerks, Barry (Black, riotous) and Dick (Louiso, best known as the au pair from `Jerry Maguire', is pitch perfect in his humorous approach), the former a loudmouth know it all and the latter a soft-spoken lover of all music, both the book ends to Rob's equally passionate take on pop music and how it has somehow manifested itself to his being ; the end all to end all.
`What came first.the misery or the music?' Rob asks at the very beginning of the film and it is here that Rob decides to investigate just how he is at fault to the 5 all time greatest break ups in his love life a la The Top 5s he and his co-horts in crime habitually categorize all things pertinent to music. What follows is a laugh-filled introspection of the heart on its sleeve and its tongue sharply in cheek as to Rob's quest of finding all his faults and foibles in hope of wooing back his recent romantic dismissal that includes 5 prototypes of all heterosexual men: The First Kiss/Crush; The Adolescent Urgency/Loss of Virginity, The Woman Out of His League; The Rebound Best Friend/Possible Soul Mate and finally, The One True Love He Isn't Even Aware Of.
The approach may seem old hat and gimmicky (Cusack breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly into the camera) yet it isn't intrusive but enlightening into what the hero is really thinking and more importantly why. Surrounded by a truly winning cast, Cusack shines once again as a likable average guy who is trying to remain a guy although the inner voice of Be A Man is palpable and reverberating inside. His nonchalant, casual way of speaking and his slow burns are priceless (he finally takes out his frustrations on Laura's new beau, the unctious sensitive pony-tailed Ian played by Cusack's best bud and former co-star of `The Sure Thing' and the cult classic `Tapeheads', Robbins, in the film's funniest fantasy sequence of Rob, Barry and Dick pummeling Ian to death). Cusack's constant streak of the smart alecky good guy continues from the quintessential portrait of Lloyd Dobler, kickboxing student of the affairs of the heart in the classic `Say Anything.' and the previous purveyor of romantic comedy, Walter `Gib' Gibson in the update of `It Happened One Night', `The Sure Thing' to his hit-man Martin Blank pondering his high school reunion with dread in the black comedy `Grosse Pointe Blank' (reunited here with his screenwriters/partners in crime D.V. De Vincentis, Steve Pink and Scott Rosenberg).
The women portraying Rob's Girlfriends of Christmas Past , so to speak, are exemplery especially Taylor (another Cusack repertoire player, who played his best gal pal/voice of reason in `Anything.') as Sarah the rebound fling and Zeta-Jones as Charlie (showing some nice moments of sublime sardonicism), the sexy babe completely out of his element). Bonet has a few nice moments as local singer Marie De Salle who provides some unsubtle ways of bringing Rob to his senses. Sister Joan provides some comic bile as well as mutual friend to Laura and Rob. But frankly it's a guy's flick and thanks to the boisterous Black (late of HBO's comedy series `Tenacious D' and a score of films as diverse as `Mars Attacks!' and last year's co-starring with Cusack in `Cradle Will Rock') and geeky, quiet Louiso adding some color especially in their scenes together debating their varied choices of musical tastes.
Directed by Stephen Frears, a fellow Englishman who appears to know the American arcana striking a responsive chord (he put Cusack through the paces in the neo-noir classic `The Grifters' a decade ago) allows his characters time to pace themselves from one setup to the next and skillfully keeps the smart patter gleaned from the book alive on screen.
Easily one of the year's funniest films and finally a film I whole heartedly recommend in what seemed to be dearth of mediocrity thus far in the new millennium. To paraphrase the emergence of Bruce Springsteen (who has a funny cameo) into rock's pantheon I will allude this to comedy: I have seen the future and it is John Cusack. Rock On!
35 of 47 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?