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Heartbreakers

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Lee and Gene Hackman; Anne Bancroft, Kevin Nealon, Nora Dunn, Ricky Jay
Written by Robert Dunn and Paul Guay & Stephen Mazur
Directed by David Mirkin
website: www.mgm.com/heartbreakers

IN SHORT: A great start followed by a steady slide into the swamps of stupidity. [Rated PG-13 for Sex Related Content including Dialog. 124 minutes.]

It was a lovely wedding. We don't know much about Angela Nardino (Sigourey Weaver), save that she got incredibly drunk at the reception. We do know that husband Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta) is madly, passionately, deeply and completely committed to his new bride who, being a good religious woman and all, hasn't given her beau more than a kiss and a lick on the cheek in the four months they've been together. Dean wants it and he wants it bad. And were it not for the obvious fact that this couple is well into their thirties, we could almost believe the no sex bit. What, then, are we to make of Heartbreakers, in which the new Mrs. Cumanno passes out on her wedding night, leaving her incredibly frustrated husband ripe for plucking by Wendy (Jennifer Love Hewitt), his sexual predator of a secretary?

Actually, for this first half hour of the film, we had a good chuckle. Ray Liotta pulls off the mild slapstick humor required with aplomb and his character meekly submits to an outrageous divorce settlement -- the dumb sap runs an auto chop shop -- and the newly revealed mother/ daughter con artist team of Max and Page Connor (Weaver and Hewitt) go to the bank to collect the loot. There, they are surprised by IRS Agent Gloria Vogel (Anne Bancroft) waiting with a seizure order for every penny and a bill for $247 thousand more. What was to have been their final caper serves as a preface to the next 90 minutes of Heartbreakers, which quickly degenerates from slapstick to stupid to painful. If director David Mirkin could have clipped this movie's wings at the ninety minute mark, we wouldn't have had time to sit and ponder the utter stupidity of it all.

But we did. Heartbreakers keeps going and going, like the energizer bunny, with scene after scene dragging on like an extended version of a bad night of Saturday Night Live, including cameo bits by SNL alumni Kevin Nealon and Nora Dunn.

Seeking one last big score, Weaver and Hewitt head for Palm Beach where, using a Russian accent, Sigourney hits on decrepit tobacco magnate William Tensy (Gene Hackman). Hackman drags every laugh he can get out of a one joke situation and Weaver deals the old "I need a green card" routine except that this long term and highly trained con artist knows absolutely nothing about anything Russian. When Hackman takes her to his favorite Russian joint, she is exposed to the natives, but not to the old man who is about as sharp as wet paper bag. All the while, her loving daughter is busy trying to run a solo score on a local bar owner, Jack Withrowe (Jason Lee), who potentially may be worth $3 million. It isn't a problem for him that Hewitt's character is rude, insulting, manipulative, and totally repulsive; Tight dresses not withstanding she's an ultimate bitch and this laid back dude falls immediately.

And this is about where the movie turns into one big penis joke ... no, that didn't come out right ... lots of little jokes about a big penis ... uh, this is kind of about the point where the movie starts getting stupid.

It isn't that we don't believe that Jennifer Love Hewitt is too young to pull off this kind of scam. Pick a dress. Any dress. No problem. It isn't that we think the Sigourney Weaver is too long in the tooth to nail an old geezer like Gene Hackman. Or any old geezer for that matter. It's not that Weaver is "old", it's that Liotta looks too damned young, in comparison, to be believable. Remember we walked in to the relationship on wedding day. He may have a thing for older woman. Who knows? We only note this stuff because the rest of the story is so forgettable that we forgot most of it two days later and went to another audience paying sneak peak to remind ourselves what we'd missed. Not much, as it turned out.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Heartbreakers, he would have paid...

$4.00

Pay per view level for a dumb date flick.

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