3 out of 10
Why did you come all the way over here to ask me for a drink? Well, because... I'm the bartender.
Like the poor confused con artists from this half-hearted attempt at a dark comedy, "Heartbreakers" is waste of time and money and should be avoided at all costs...which it likely usually is as the copy viewed for this article was found abandoned in the $1.00 bin at the grocery store. Containing a sappy, mishmashy plot more likely to be found on soap operas "Days of Our Lives" or the "Loveboat" it stars big names but little performances from Signoury Weaver ("Working Girl"), Gene Hackman ("The Birdcage"), Ray Liotta ("Good Fellas") and "Party of Five"'s Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Max Connors (Weaver) is a con artist. Marrying and divorcing men for money, she and her daughter Page (Hewitt) drive around the US searching for wealthy hapless victims to bait and rush to the altar. Driven to steal because she was forced to raise Page on her own, her escapades are a form of revenge against men, whom she feels no one should ever trust, particularly her daughter. When Page decides she is old enough to strike out on her own, the two lose a $300,000 divorce settlement from a New Jersey used car salesman (Liotta) to the IRS, and the two decide to drive to Palm Beach, California to make their last big score. After staking out local men, they decide to reel in tobacco magnate William B. Tensey (Hackman), with unpredictable results.
Written by Stephen Mauzer, script polisher Paul Guay and Canadian Robert Dunn and directed by David Mirkin of the abismal "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," "Heartbreakers" contains all the typical Hollywood cliches found in your average comical crime flick, but lacking a coherent or engaging plot and drowing in tepid and corny performances, although the cons are amusing, nothing is able to pull it from the depths to which it sinks. From terrifying accents, poor renditions of "Back in the USSR" and continuity errors such as dead bodies that don't bleed to overly easily summed up plot twists and some unwelcome ones, such as a strange love triangle between Max, a young Florida bartender (Jason Lee) and her daughter, make this film one you will be glad you missed.
Often seeming more like a Canadian tax dodge or leftover script from a 1980's teen film that finally after twenty years struck it lucky, it contains very few original ideas and vastly underuses it's talented cast, particulary Hackman; hitting all the wrong notes and coming across like a bloated and confused disaster. Most problematic neither Weaver nor Hewitt seem the type to be able to pull of these sorts of cons and with it's strange moralistic tones about trusting in love and not stealing from ex-husbands, it is hard to tell whether Guay, Mauzer and Dunn were aiming for a comedy, romance or a cautionary tale. Sigourney Weaver plays her traditional role of scary brittle middle aged harpy. With nothing maternal about her, as always she attempts poorly to play the femme fatale with the only result as being fatal for the film. With little connection to Hewitt in the picture, she is a consumate ice cube and villian, you have little sympathy for her character. Possibly instead of spending $40 million on top stars, like Weaver, who were unflexible in their roles, if produced as an independent and with a better plot, with it's at times clever lines, it could have been the sleeper of the year.
Of late Hollywood has been short on decent endings. Thus, possibly the rise of "scam movies" may be an instinctive way of having a more interesting twist at the final scenes. However, leaving the ending aside, with "Heartbreakers" likely the only ones involved in a scam during this picture will be the filmgoer who has been tricked into to sitting through it.
Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies