Heartbreakers (2001 film)

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Heartbreakers
Heartbreakers movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Mirkin
Produced by John Davis
Irving Ong
Written by Robert Dunn
Paul Guay
Stephen Mazur
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Ray Liotta
Jason Lee
Gene Hackman
Music by John Debney
Danny Elfman (theme)
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by William Steinkamp
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • March 23, 2001 (2001-03-23)
Running time 122 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Russian
Budget $35 million
Box office $57,756,408

Heartbreakers is a 2001 caper-romantic comedy film directed by David Mirkin. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, and Gene Hackman. Weaver was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for her performance in the film. The plot revolves around an elaborate con set up by a mother-daughter team to swindle wealthy men out of their money, and what happens during their "last" con together.

This film is written by Robert Dunn, Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur. It was the third collaboration by Guay and Mazur, whose previous comedies were The Little Rascals and Liar Liar.

Plot[edit]

Max (Sigourney Weaver) and Page Conners (Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother-daughter con artist team. When the film opens, the Conners are settling a con on Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta), an auto-body shop owner and small-time crook. The con, which the Conners have played a number of times before on other men, involves Max marrying Dean, passing out on their wedding night to avoid actually consummating the marriage, and then Page (posing as Dean's secretary) luring Dean into a compromising position to justify Max's immediate divorce and hefty settlement. The con is a success.

Page declares that she wants to go solo. Max initially relents, but when they visit the bank to split their earnings, they are confronted by an IRS agent (Anne Bancroft) who declares that they owe the government a considerable sum on top of the rest of their savings, which have already been seized. Page reluctantly agrees to work together with Max on one last con in Palm Beach (the con would result in enough money to pay off the I.R.S. and set up Page to work on her own). For their target, they choose widower William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman), a tobacco baron who is addicted to his own product.

Complicating matters is beachfront bartender Jack (Jason Lee), whom Page meets without her mother's knowledge while attempting to go after a target she pointed out earlier (a doctor who inherited money from an uncle; Max rejected him on the grounds that he was a "momma's boy" as he still lived with his mother). Page learns that Jack is worth $3 million, having inherited the bar, and decides to target him for a side con. Page ends up developing genuine feelings for Jack, but Max, who has been hurt many times before, tells her to break it off; Page reluctantly ends the relationship.

Tensy proposes to Max ahead of schedule, but before they can get married, he passes out and dies while trying to consummate the relationship, because of a lifetime of smoking. While Max and Page are deciding what to do with the body, Dean arrives, having tracked Max down in order to propose to her again. Dean discovers the ruse Max and Page played on him, and threatens to expose them. Max offers to return Dean's divorce settlement money if he'll help them make Tensy's death look like an accident. Max reveals to Page that the money wasn't really taken by the IRS, and the agent had in fact been Max's mentor, Barbara, in a ruse to prevent Page from leaving. But when Max, Page and Dean go to the bank, the money really has gone, liquidated in an act of betrayal by Barbara.

In order to help Max, Page decides to accept Jack's offer of marriage, planning to work it as a regular con. Page insists that Jack will not cheat on her, but is heartbroken when during the wedding night she breaks into his room and finds him in a compromising position with Max. After the divorce settlement is paid, Dean confronts Max about the ethics of their con, pointing out that even a "goody-goody" like Jack is only human. Max reveals that Jack actually turned her down and she drugged him to put him in the position where Page found them, defending her decision by claiming that Jack would have gone on to hurt Page eventually. Dean counters that life is about pain, but that it can also be good, and Max has no right to keep Page from living her life just because of what might happen.

Chastened, Max tells Page the truth, admitting that her own efforts to protect her daughter from pain have only hurt her in other ways, recognising that Page has to make her own life. Page returns to Jack, giving him back the bar he'd had to sell to pay the settlement, and tells him her real name. Max and Dean also get together, Dean having admitted that he still misses Max even after what she put him through. The final shot of the film is of Dean — using the name 'Stanley' — romancing Barbara, with Max watching them via binoculars, implying that Max and Dean are now working together to get Max's money back.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film had been in the works for quite a long time. Originally, Ang Lee was set to direct with Anjelica Huston and Alicia Silverstone playing the roles of "Max" and "Page". However, due to the long pre-production stage, both actresses had to bow out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. In 1999, it was then announced that Anjelica Huston and Cameron Diaz were set to play the two leading roles, with Doug Liman directing but then Liman backed out of the project, creating quite a long time frame to find a new director. Huston and Diaz both had to bow out as well. Cher became attached and brought in David Mirkin to direct and rewrite the script. Jennifer Aniston also became attached at this time. Cher then dropped out to do a world tour for her unexpected #1 hit album Believe and the mother/daughter roles went to Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The film was set in Palm Beach, Florida (specifically the Breakers Hotel); according to the DVD commentary by director David Mirkin, only a few external shots were actually shot in Palm Beach, with the rest utilizing Los Angeles locations as stand-ins. The film contains several references to The Beatles, including Sigourney Weaver singing a Russian folk version of "Back in the U.S.S.R." and the use of John Lennon's "Oh My Love" in several key scenes.

Music[edit]

Danny Elfman composed the main theme, and John Debney composed the score for the film.

Reception[edit]

The film opened at #1 in the U.S. box-office, earning $12.3 million on its opening weekend.[1] It went on to gross a total of $57,756,408 worldwide.[2] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and said that, "it does what a comedy must: It makes us laugh.[3]

The film holds a 53% rating on rotten tomatoes based on 119 reviews.[4] At Metacritic, it holds a "mixed or average reviews" score of 47 out of 100. [5]

Home media release[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD on 2 October 2001.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Heartbreakers hit top spot". BBC News. 26 March 2001. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Heartbreakers". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Heartbreakers Movie Review & Film Summary (2001)". Chicago Sun-Times. 23 March 2001. 
  4. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1105990-heartbreakers/
  5. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/heartbreakers
  6. ^ Messier, Max. "Heartbreakers". Film Critic. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]