Heartbreakers Movie Review

The problem with a movie like Heartbreakers is that as hard as you try to concentrate on the notable qualities of the film -- the clever camerawork, the strong ensemble acting, the deft script -- every time Jennifer Love Hewitt walks into a scene, her breasts take over. Even my date noticed the blatant attempts by the filmmakers in drawing all attention to the chests of both Sigourney Weaver and Hewitt. Alas, all those breasts are never fully revealed -- like some bad '80s teen horror film censored by Jerry Falwell.

Despite the massive amounts of boob time in Heartbreakers, the film delivers all the goods of a solid comedic vehicle. Max (Weaver) and Page (Hewitt) are a mother/daughter team who swindle rich guys out of their dollars in a con involving matrimony vows, extramarital trysts, and divorce settlements. Sort of like a cross between Anywhere but Here and The Grifters. With the IRS hot on their proverbial tails, the duo team up for one last job, bilking cigarette tycoon William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman) out of his cash. Alas, during the con job, Page ends up falling in love with a local bar owner (Jason Lee), a dead body ends up in their trunk, Princess Leia shows up as a divorce attorney, and a jilted ex-husband (Ray Liotta) shows up waving a gun and advising group therapy for everyone.

The glue that holds this familiar story together lies in the actors involved in the production. Hackman delivers a memorable performance as the wheezing, hacking, brown-toothed William B. Tensy. Jason Lee, one of the best young actors working in Hollywood these days, brings a warm, subtle touch to his role of the lovelorn bar owner head-over-heels in love with Page. Weaver delivers another knockout comedic punch as the protective mother Max. And Hewitt actually pulls together a credible acting job despite the screen time she has to share with her breasts.

The best work in the film is given by Ray Liotta, the most intense man ever to grace the screen. He has the uncanny ability to take one- or two-dimensional roles, in such films as Cop Land, Hannibal, and No Escape, and turn in an outstanding, memorable job. The only problem is that I'm still trying to forget about his roles in Turbulence and Muppets from Space.

Despite the positives, Heartbreakers does have its minor flaws. The "protective mother" scenario drags on for too long, and the complete and total ignorance of every male in the film over Max and Page's con jobs is a bit too hard to swallow. And not that I'm complaining, but who wears skintight dresses every day of the year?

In a nutshell, though, this is a love story. Beneath all the lying, the cheating, the backstabbing, the hacking coughs, and the cleavage we find a familiar tale of true love. How sweet it is.

Heartbreakers fans are in for a real treat with the DVD release of the film -- with its two commentary tracks (Love speaks!), endless outtakes and deleted scenes, documentaries, trailers, and more -- there are literally hours and hours of extras to dig into. All of which would be even better if the movie itself wasn't more than two hours long.

All aboard!


Comments

Heartbreakers Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 2001

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