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:: Heartbreakers

Even though I had been looking forward to this film for some time, I was concerned about the long running time for a comedy of this kind. The concern seemed justified because it just became a little repetitive and fell away in the end, even though I enjoyed most of the amusing script and the general thrust of the story.

Max (Sigourney Weaver) and Page (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) pair up as the ultimate mother/daughter combination of golddiggers. They make a living out of a simple scheme of conning men who can’t resist their charms. Max marries rich businessmen, Page seduces them into infidelity, Max catches them out, divorce ensues, and the ladies take whatever settlement they want.

And what charms they possess? Sigourney weaver vamps it up on screen, as I’ve never seen her before. She looks like she’s having a great time. Jennifer Love-Hewitt gets to flaunt her deliciously killer body more than ever and oozes sex appeal. The first half of the film, in particular, shows Jennifer prancing around in a smorgasbord of low-cut dresses and bikinis. We see them working cleverly as they swindle Dean (Ray Liotta) out of his money. Dean has married Max. His “new” secretary Page then gets him in a compromising position until Max walks in to catch him out. The two ladies eventually walk away with $US 300,000.

The plans of mother and daughter go according to plan, but Page is restless into wanting to go into business for herself. As her mother disapproves, they decide on a compromise to pull off one last big job together. They head to Palm Beach and set their sights on William B Tensy (Gene Hackman), a billionaire tobacco tycoon. Page is hungry for her own action on the side and comes across a bartender named Jack (Jason Lee) who is due to come into some big money. Things get a little complicated as their skills and feelings are put to the test by both these men, while previous victim Dean discovers what’s been happening, and is on the warpath. There are some humorous moments, especially when Max’s approach to Tensy is of being a Russian woman. There is a great moment when she is called onstage to sing at a Russian nightclub.

Weaver and Love-Hewitt attack their roles with zeal, and provide energetic performances. They are perfectly cast in the roles. You would expect a fine, gifted actress like Weaver to do just that with her twisted character. Love-Hewitt, with her treasures on constant display, works well in this comedy and develops a great chemistry with her co-star. Her fans should not miss this film. Hackman and Liotta bring their expertise to the fore in their supporting roles. Hackman’s chain-smoking role is something very different to which we are accustomed. Liotta’s character brings some rage and charm. Thanks to his anger and attitude, the story doesn’t end up too sappy. Jason Lee’s role could have been a bit more substantial. He seems like a cream puff by the end.

Overall, the fun value is good enough to please the viewer, although it dropped away in the last twenty minutes. The timing of the gags is spot-on, the cast is well presented, and there is scope for a sequel because the idea of a romantic comedy/caper movie is appealing.

Screening on general release