Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2008. New Crime Productions, B & W Films, Boyana Film Studios, Millennium Films, Nu Image Entertainment GmbH. Screenplay by Mark Leyner, Jeremy Pikser, John Cusack. Cinematography by Zoran Popovic. Produced by John Cusack, Danny Lerner, Grace Loh, Les Weldon. Music by David Robbins. Production Design by Miljen Kreka Kljakovic. Costume Design by Vicki Graef. Film Editing by Michael Berenbaum.
John Cusack stars in this semi-sequel to Grosse Pointe Blank, in which he is once again a hit man whose job intersects humorously with his love life. This time he has been sent into “Turaqistan”, a middle-eastern nation that has been taken over by a corporate-run American army and is being visited by an oil baron whom Cusack has been ordered to take out. Masquerading as the director of a giant trade show that seeks to bring American commercialism to the newly democratized nation, Cusack gets involved with a westernized pop singer (Hilary Duff) whose wedding will cap off the end of the show, and falls in love with a nosy reporter (Marisa Tomei) who seeks to expose corporate greed all over the world. The political aims of this film fall about as subtly as a Looney Tunes anvil from the sky, and while most of it is vulgar and brash in its messaging, it does manage to have the odd engaging moment of charm. The humour is uneven, however, veering from parody to whimsy without much proper guidance, and only Tomei seems to be doing a decent job of simply playing comedy without looking for the audience to congratulate her on how clever and rebellious she’s behaving.