MGM // PG-13 // April 10, 2001
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 15, 2001
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The Movie:

"Heartbreakers" is one of those films that takes a perfectly good idea, runs well with it for about 15 minutes, and then spirals downwards, occasionally hooking me back in with a good moment or two along the way. The film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigorney Weaver as Page and Max, a mother/daughter con-artist team who have been running a scam - Max gets married, finds Page with the husband, gets a quick divorce and a settlement. As the film starts, they've just pulled this on Dean (Ray Liotta) - she got married and one day later she's divorced and quite a bit richer.

The two head out for Palm Beach to find a guy for their one last score to set them up for life. Max finds tobacco company owner William Tensy (Gene Hackman) and attempts to start the con - yet, all is not right in the situation between the two as Page wants to set off on her own. She even finds herself trying to run her own con with the owner of a bar that's on an expensive piece of land (Jason Lee). The two bicker over whether or not she's ready to go off on her own, and it's these kinds of elements that drag down what could have been an edgy, funnier picture.

There's several things that don't work, and some that don't work - badly. The eventual romance between Hewitt's character and the bar owner played by Lee is completely unbelievable; although she looks pretty stunning in tight clothing, she's a rude, annoying, mean-spirited character that's completely unlikable. It's also suprising that Gene Hackman took this role as the Tensy character is almost literally a one-joke character - he coughs his way through the movie. Funny once - not funny twice (and especially not funny the 20th time).

Speaking of the 20th time, there's absolutely no reason that "Heartbreakers" should be 125 minutes. The "con" bits start to become repetitive and the movie becomes boring. A good editor could have really gotten this picture better paced and moving quick at, maybe, 100 minutes. Performances across the board are simply okay - no one's particularly good. Hewitt and Weaver are decent but their characters are flat and one-dimensional and Jason Lee gets hardly anything to do, which is dissapointing after good performances in "Almost Famous" and "Mumford".

Even if it's rarely funny, at least "Heartbreakers" often looks good thanks to Academy Award nominee production designer Lilly Kilvert and Academy Award winner cinematographer Dean Semler("Dances With Wolves"). As good as it looks though, there's no helping a screenplay that's definitely lacking and performances that don't do much to enhance it.

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