Heartbreakers (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner28/08/2001

Four stars out of five
Running time: 123 mins

Enjoyable con-artist comedy with good work from both leads, some scene-stealing performances from its supporting cast and a wardrobe for Love Hewitt that deserves some sort of award for services to skimpiness…

Maxine (Sigourney Weaver) and Page Conners (Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother-daughter team of con artists, dedicated to fleecing rich suitors out of millions of dollars in divorce settlements.

As the film opens, we find them at the height of their game with Maxine working her latest prospect (Ray Liotta) into a state of extreme sexual frustration on the night before their wedding.

Meanwhile, Page (dressed in the first of a series of outrageously low-cut tops and short skirts) has a job as a secretary at his company and contrives to get herself ‘entangled’ in his zipper, just as Maxine walks in. Cue enormous divorce settlement.

However, realizing that their trusted friend and mentor (Anne Bancroft) has made off with their savings, they head to Miami Beach in order to snare one last billionaire and retire.

They think they’ve found their mark in emphysemic tobacco baron William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman hilarious in Very Old Bloke make-up), only they haven’t reckoned on two things: firstly, on Liotta showing up, and secondly on Page falling for beach bartender Jack (the ever-excellent Jason Lee).

Films such as this stand or fall on the comic timing of the performances and on the pace of the gags.

Luckily, the cast are excellent, with Weaver and Hewitt making an excellent team and both prepared to make fun of themselves into the bargain.

Hackman is excellent as always, playing the character so well that you can almost smell his stinky breath as Weaver recoils from his hacking coughs in horror.

It’s Liotta, though, who reveals a previously unsuspected flair for comic timing, playing a character who’s not too bright, but whose heart is in the right place.

He’s also given some bizarre off-the-wall moments, such as when he shoots his gun into the water in his excitement over seeing some fish – the expression of child-like glee on his face is hilarious and oddly touching.

It’s also great to see Jason Lee in a mainstream picture, even if, as Love Hewitt’s love interest, he isn’t given all that much to actually do.

There are some great moments here. One in particular has Weaver, having convinced Hackman that she’s Russian, being forced to do a solo in a Russian restaurant and belting out a show-stopping Russian-accented version of ‘Back In The USSR’.

It’s impossible to talk about Heartbreakers without mentioning the invaluable service to the movie by the wardrobe department. At least Love Hewitt’s costumes are integral to the plot, as the whole point of their scam involves Page looking like the type of girl for whom you’d gladly risk everything just for a quick roll in they hay.

So skimpy is her wardrobe that by the end of the film, you’ll swear you’ve seen her naked…

This has been a terrible summer for Hollywood movies so far, and perhaps Heartbreakers looks better by comparison because everything else has been so awful.

Whatever the case, you could do a lot worse than this, as ultimately it’s a thoroughly enjoyable comedy with winning performances all round. Recommended.

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Heartbreakers (15)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 06:26

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