Wednesday, August 25, 1999

Mickey Blue Eyes

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 1999 at 12:00 AM

The great Mafia movie parody always deserved an interesting twist. Enter Mickey Blue Eyes aka Michael Felgate (Hugh Grant), a genteel fine art auctioneer with a lack of coordination with weapons and a throbbing heart for a New York Mafia princess, Gina (Jeanne Tripplehorn).

Mixing all the culture-shock elements of an English gentleman trying to blend into a hit-man crowd with commentary on the mob flick itself gives Mickey Blue Eyes all new dimensions. The movie’s odd premise and intent to parody leaves it ripe for a more slapstick feel that never quite emerges outside of the appearance of some religious gangster paintings. In one of them, a machine gun-toting Jesus is surrounded by half-naked saints while he "takes care of"a rival who lies bleeding in the foreground. The painting sells for $50,000, which arouses the suspicions of a couple of FBI agents, pushing Mickey deeper into the world of organized crime.

While the blue-eyed gangster who sells fine art might be a new theme, the movie sticks to old references like a well-cooked pasta noodle on a wall. Gina’s ex-con mobster dad, Frank, is played by James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in The Godfather in 1972. And a "don"with a barely intelligible Marlon Brando-ish rasp appears with almost laughable results. All this ties in nicely to Mickey muttering notes to himself on a tape recorder reminding himself to rent the Godfather trilogy and Goodfellas.

Of course, the movie comes complete with an Italian wedding, a botched assassination attempt, bodies in trunks and a moon-faced thug who looks like he eats the livers of Englishmen for breakfast. But while all its proper — and improper — elements are assembled for a mob comedy of a different kind, Mickey Blue Eyes is a lot of setup and mild blundering without the comic pay-off.

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