Eye For Film >> Movies >> Heartbreakers (2001) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Con artists are a fruitful subject for movies and yet seldom come through with the goods. Remember when Steve Martin and Michael Caine went to the Riviera in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? Probably not. It was so forgettable. The Hustler and Paper Moon are different. They weren't trying to be funny. Heartbreakers is.
The mother/daughter team of Maxine (Sigourney Weaver) and Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has one thing going against it. They are not nice people. Maxine's a schemer, who would cheat her own flesh-and-blood. Page is a bitch, whose cynicism freezes on impact. They don't even like each other. Page can't wait to leave and set up on her own in California. Maxine knows that she'll be worse off as a result and so tricks her into compliance.
Their con is simple. Maxine turns her charms on a hapless rich guy and manipulates him into marrying her, while withdrawing conjugal rights on the wedding night by falling asleep on the job. Within a week, or less, Page has seduced the frustrated husband into a compromising position, so that Maxine can discover them, followed by divorce and settlement. Men are gullible idiots when it comes to girls in tight skirts, but then you knew that already.
The object of their last big sting is a chain-smoking billionaire (Gene Hackman) in Palm Beach. Maxine puts on a Russian accent and moves in for the kill, despite being physically repulsed by the man. Page, meanwhile, has fallen for the barman (Jason Lee) at a beach bar, who is sweet-natured, naive and unambitious. Falling for anyone in this business is strictly forbidden. Maxine is appalled, until she learns that he owns the place and could be worth $3million.
Even the sex goddess of all things Alien cannot inject eroticism into a plain script. Ray Liotta, as one of Maxine's victims, who reappears later, lets rip. He hasn't had so much fun since Hannibal. Hackman is incapable of giving an uninteresting performance and yet has his time cut out with this guy. It is a comedic role and yet what's funny about a grumpy old man who coughs in people's faces? Page is so mercenary, you don't want her in your car. Hewitt has a gym-toned body and cold eyes. You think, I'll pass. You think the same about the movie.Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2001