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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.09%
Worth A Look: 24.18%
Pretty Bad: 20.88%
Total Crap: 6.59%

8 reviews, 43 user ratings

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by MP Bartley

"Women are harlots, men are morons. Discuss."
4 stars

If there's one particular genre that Hollywood today struggles to replicate, it's the screwball, battle of the sexes comedy. The great works of Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges seem to beyond most film-makers today. Saying that, 'Heartbreakers' is still a better than average effort.

Max and Page Connors (Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother and daughter scam team, with Max marrying wealthy businessmen only for Page to come along and tease them into alleged infidelities, allowing for divorce and a nice big pay-off for Max. After fleecing car salesman Dean (Ray Liotta) they move onto Palm Beach where they see walking ashtray William B Tensy (Gene Hackman), whose two cigarettes away from dying, as the payoff to set them up for life. They don't count on local bartender Jack (Jason Lee) or the re-appearance of Dean messing their plans up however.

So it's essentially Flirty Rotten Scoundrels. But without the cracking screenplay, because this is a comedy that struggles to fill it's two hour running time. Although it's consistently laugh-raising (the opening scam alone is a hoot), it drags itself down into too many dry patches, mainly featuring the forced romance between Page and Jack. Indeed the last scam, feels like one scam too may and is a tacked on climax that threatens to unbalance the picture. It also falls back on that old joke of one character (Max) pretending to be another nationality (here, Russian) only to meet an authentic Russian who tries to engage her in their native language. It was fairly funny in 'National Lampoons European Vacation', but very tired now. David Mirkin can keep a story ticking along, but can't quite give it the galvanising pace of a true farce.

Despite these flaws however, it's still a solid four-star flick. Why? For that simple reason of great performances. And 'Heartbreakers' has three to fall back on. Why isn't Weaver getting more work? A consistently interesting and watchable actress, she displays here a hidden funny and sexy streak making it plainly believeable that she could seduce so many men out of their money. She's clearly having a ball and that energy rubs off on the other great performances.

When people say De Niro has discovered his funny bone, they mean that he's essentially playing the same scary role he always does, but in a comedy instead. He's not a comic actor in the way that Gene Hackman proves he is here. In a few scenes only, he's absolutely priceless channeling the spirit of WC Fields and Walter Matthau, into a gleefully mucky performance whether it's pawing after Max or hacking his lungs up with every second breath.
Serious re-evaluation of Hackman as one of our greatest actors is required.

And stealing every scene he's in too, comes Liotta as a wound up, permamently horny, sleazy riff on his gangster persona. Every bulge of his eyeballs as he unwittingly gets further involved in the sting is a moment to savour as is his potshots at the fish in the ocean. There is a weak link however and it's undoubtedly Love Hewitt. She may look like men would fall at her feet, but she gives a charmless performance. Where she should be coy and seductive, she's brash and obvious. It's not so bad when she has Weaver to spar off and Weaver can salvage the scene, but when she has to carry the laughs alone she's terrible, over-selling each line with no idea of comic delivery. It's clear that she's out of her depth here with the talent around her and she struggles to keep up.

Her scenes with Lee don't sparkle and rarely convince, and he's wasted in a role that's just not suited to his prickly persona.

So those in the Love Hewitt fanclub should look elsewhere, but anyone who relishes great comic performances can't fail to love the energy that Weaver, Hackman and Liotta bring to 'Heartbreakers', elevating average material to something better.

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originally posted: 06/05/04 01:15:11
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User Comments

8/19/19 Anne watch it 3 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell funny flick fuck the haters 4 stars
6/03/11 art THIS FLICK is SICK!!!! 1 stars
9/03/09 art IT WILL GIVE YOU HEARTBURN! 1 stars
4/19/08 art IT STINK'S 1 stars
4/13/07 David Pollastrini Hewitt is hot in this! 3 stars
4/18/06 Dk Fuuny up to Hackmans death which leaves 35 min of bordom 3 stars
3/09/06 Dk Sexy but not much else 2 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva skanks 3 stars
7/11/03 Joesco Not as clever as it would like to be - Weaver is good - Hewitt barely eye candy 2 stars
5/20/03 Charles Tatum Dirty Rotten Scoundrelesses deserved an R and a half hour editing trim, Weaver's a hoot 3 stars
4/16/03 Andrew Carden Surprisingly Funny Comedy...Hackman and Weaver Are Great Together, 4 stars
4/05/03 Jack Sommersby Never really breaks into its own, but it's pleasant enough (though overlong). 3 stars
11/27/02 Tony Miller Pratfalls not worth breaking beautiful Hewitt's stride, let alone her finger. Unfunny. 2 stars
8/28/02 Mandy Seever Jennifer Love Hewwitt was made for soo much better; Weaver pretty much in character. 1 stars
7/06/02 Darlene Groetz The movie where Jennifer Love Hewitt became a zombie of the tragic wands. 2 stars
7/05/02 Jenny Tullwartz After seeing this, Jennifer, I know what you did last bummer. 2 stars
6/06/02 qtpie Loved It !! :) 5 stars
6/01/02 stud cool 5 stars
5/27/02 Nicole Meant to be light and ridiculous. Take it at face value and you will enjoy it. 4 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Should have been titled the JLH t*t and @$$ show. Gene Hackman is wasted. 1 stars
12/16/01 toneely I really like all the actors in this movie, but This movie is sooo BAD!!!! 2 stars
8/30/01 Simeon Briggs Fucking great. I just want Jennifer to hold me. and Jason Lee needed more one liners 4 stars
8/29/01 Matthew Bartley Great performances all round...very welcome change from grossout stuff 4 stars
7/17/01 Erin This movie was cute nothing more nothing less 4 stars
7/15/01 Jester219 Chasing Amy's Jason Lee rules like a mofo. and JLH is my mistress, dont tell. 5 stars
7/09/01 Roy Smith JLH is sexy but her and Jason Lee are the weakest links..still really funny though. 5 stars
6/20/01 Jax I liked it. Weaver and Hackman were incredible. I love JLH. Jason Lee at his best. 4 stars
5/22/01 Eric funny as hell 5 stars
5/07/01 Kate Really really awesome!!! 5 stars
5/05/01 The Chosen One Oh boy 5 stars
4/08/01 John Lyons Besides looking great, J.L.Hewitt can really act! Wanted to see more of Hackman. 5 stars
4/02/01 Bot Tropic Ray Liotta is surprisingly memorable, & JLH is beautiful & way way underrated by all of you 5 stars
3/31/01 Natalie Nat saw it. Now she is an expert faller. lol. I thought it kicked. 5 stars
3/29/01 Wolvie Not Bad. Jennifer Love Hewitt is a hottie! Pretty funny in parts and a fairly good story. 4 stars
3/28/01 tnt hackman and weaver are hilarious..hewitt and jason lee's scenes are terrible 3 stars
3/27/01 kidrock This movie was smart and funny and Jennifer,Segourney,Ray and Gene were excellent. 5 stars
3/26/01 Joe suck 1 stars
3/25/01 Sid 6.7 A relatively mediocre broad, provocative cleavage-festival with seldom chuckles or cackles 2 stars
3/25/01 Peejay She was one of the better parts of the film, not her body. Out of the gutter now Greg. 4 stars
3/19/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Jennifer Love Huge-Tits couldn't act her way out of a wet Kleenex. 3 stars
3/19/01 Katie Young I thought that this movie was incredibly cute! It was funny, a chick-flick SEE IT! : ) 4 stars
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  23-Mar-2001 (PG-13)


  05-Jul-2001 (M)

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