When most people think of Sigourney Weaver they think of the “Alien” series and her tough bitch attitude. The same thing goes for Jennifer Love Hewitt the TV series “Party of Five,” and her sweet young virginal image (or maybe just lots of cleavage). In the movie “Heartbreakers” both of these actresses are able to shine and actually break through their stereotypical roles. They also get a chance to show off their chest size and shapely bodies along with their comic acting abilities, which are surprisingly quite strong for both of them.
“Heartbreakers” is a charming romantic comedy reminiscent of such classics as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “A Fish Called Wanda.” It revolves around a mother-daughter con team. Max (Weaver) gets men to marry her and has her daughter Page (Hewitt) seduce them into infidelity. Max catches them in the act, files for divorce and receives a hefty settlement for all her “pain.”
At the start of the film, Page has declared to her mother that she is ready to be on her own and wants to part ways. Max reluctantly agrees until they discover the IRS has taken all their money. Page agrees to do one more hit but it has to be big. It has to be Palm Beach.
The two set up shop and cruise the area to find their next victim, William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman), the billionaire owner of a tobacco company who subsequently appears to be dying from his own products.
Hackman is brilliant. In his first 30 seconds on screen he is able to portray the entire depth of his character through his actions, body language and facial expressions. Tensy stumbles out of his mansion, hacking while simultaneously smoking a cigarette, swats a cat out of his way with a cane and proceeds to stumble to his knees on account of all the coughing. You can”t help but laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of the scene.
“Heartbreakers” has a very strong supporting cast overall, which only adds to the movies greatness. After Hackman, you”ve got Jason Lee (“Mallrats”) as well as Ray Liotta who plays the first victim of the mother-daughter duo that we get to witness. There is a scene at the very beginning where Liotta is carrying Weaver in his arms down the hall to their hotel room and the hall just keeps going and going with Weaver obviously not getting any lighter. His facial expressions alone (as well as his buckling knees) encompass the scene perfectly.
Like any good con movie “Heartbreakers” has lots of funny moments and plenty of twists and turns that I guarantee you won”t be expecting. It seemed that every time the plot was moving in a predictable direction and I thought I had figured out what was going to happen next, it would slip in a zinger and change course, always for the better.
As with most romantic comedies, endings seem to be where they lose steam and go for the predictable (read: Boring). “Heartbreakers” did fall prey to some of this but not as much as one might think. The movie did a good job of sticking with its already well-defined, realistic character development (for a Hollywood movie that is). Overall, “Heartbreakers” left me feeling satisfied and not at all like I had just been scammed the $8 admission price for pure drivel.