Heartbreakers (2001)

HEARTBREAKERS, sneaked on Saturday, is a fun-cast, at-times funny, 
and, alas, both overlong and overplayed con-woman comedy (with ro-
mance!) starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love-Hewitt as a mo-
ther-and-daughter tag-team trying to love and leave one last, big 
fish-- a chain-smoking Palm Beach billionaire slash walking corpse 
played with wheezing, gray-toothed gusto by Gene Hackman.  Yup, DIRTY 
ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS 2.  And, actually, Rudolph Red Nose is *Mom's* con.  
Hewitt's character spends most of *her* screen time chasing a beach-
combing bartender played by Jason Lee.  He's potentially worth mil-
lions, but seems inexplicably fazed her many ultra-tight, ultra-short 
dresses.  (Hewitt appears as such for *most* of the movie, so the Wo-
ody Factor [WF] is pretty high.  Wohoo!)

Sex jokes and slapstick seduction ensues, with amusement *most* a-
plenty when parent and child compete *against* each other.  Such as a 
bar bit featuring *the* year's best line-- a deadpan howler about...
snack foods.  Regrettably, monotony is far more common than mirth.  
Part of the problem is that there's barely any overall spontaneity or 
snap.  Far worse is the flip-flopping tone, which tries to be both 
side-splitting silly and believably believable.  (It's largely nei-
ther.)  At least the cameos are fun, including Anne Bancroft, a grim-
looking Carrie Fisher, and Ray "Got Brains?" Liotta as a jilted Jer-
sey chop-shop owner.  (He book-ends the film with some sorely spunk.) 

And Hackman's a stitch, happily hacking his way through hard-trying 
scene after hard-trying scene, cigarette a-dangling and a cloud of 
smoke swirling about blazing liver spots.  (And how the Hell he kept 
a straight face while expounding on "hot, red, engorged nostrils" is 
anybody's guess.)  To the film's credit, the script is loaded-down 
with quite a *few* crack cracks.  "Space and sh*t," "May I grab your 
nuts," etc.  And, of course, there's the supreme star-pairing of Wea-
ver and Hewitt.  Sure, they overact most of the time, but at least 
they're (kinda) compelling to watch when the movie isn't.  Directed 
"R"/123 min.)
Grade: C 

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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