Heartbreakers (2001 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Mirkin|
|Produced by||John Davis |
|Written by||Robert Dunn |
|Music by||John Debney |
Danny Elfman (theme)
|Edited by||William Steinkamp|
|Distributed by||MGM Distribution Co. (North America) |
Films & TV House (International)
|Box office||$57.8 million|
Heartbreakers is a 2001 American romantic comedy crime film directed by David Mirkin and written by Robert Dunn, Paul Guay, and Stephen Mazur. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, and Gene Hackman. 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. The film marks the last onscreen film appearance of Anne Bancroft before her death in June 2005.
Heartbreakers received mixed reviews from critics, and grossed over $57 million. Weaver was nominated for a Satellite Award for her performance in the film.
Max and Page Conners (Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother-daughter con artist team. When the film opens, the Conners are finishing a con on Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta), an auto-body shop owner and small-time crook. The con, which the Conners have played many times before on other men, involves Max marrying Dean, passing out on their wedding night to avoid 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 go to the bank to split their earnings, they're 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 one last con with Max in Palm Beach, to get enough money to pay off the IRS and set Page up 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.
While working the main con with Tensy, Page attempts a side con without her mother's knowledge. Page targets beachfront bartender Jack (Jason Lee), who is worth $3 million; she tells him that her name is Jane, but develops genuine feelings for him. Max learns of the side con and tells Page to break the relationship off, which Page does reluctantly.
Tensy proposes to Max ahead of schedule, but before they can get married, he accidentally chokes and dies while trying to initiate sex with Max. While Max and Page are deciding what to do with the body, Dean arrives, having tracked Max down to apologize and propose to her again. Dean figures out that Max and Page conned him, and threatens to call the authorities. Max offers to return Dean's divorce settlement money if he'll help them make Tensy's death look like an accident. Max tells Page that their money wasn't really taken by the IRS; the agent was Max's mentor, Barbara, who agreed to help prevent Page from leaving. However, when Max, Page and Dean go to the bank, the money really has gone, having been liquidated in an act of betrayal by Barbara.
In order to help Max, Page returns to Jack and accepts his proposal, planning to work it as a regular con. Page insists that Jack will not cheat on her, but is heartbroken when, on their wedding night, she breaks into her mother's 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 that she had to drug him, but she defends her actions by saying that Jack would hurt Page eventually. Dean counters that Max has no right to keep Page from the man she loves because of what "might" happen.
Chastened, Max tells Page the truth, admitting that her efforts to protect her daughter have only hurt her in other ways. 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 loves Max despite 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 from Barbara.
- Sigourney Weaver as Max Conners, con-artist / Angela Nardino / Olga Yevanova
- Jennifer Love Hewitt as Page Conners, Max's daughter, fellow con-artist / Jane Helstorm / Wendy
- Ray Liotta as Dean Cumanno, Max's love interest / Vinny Staggliano
- Jason Lee as Jack Withrowe, Page's love interest
- Anne Bancroft as Gloria Vogal/Barbara, Max's longtime friend and mentor in "the con" game
- Jeffrey Jones as Mr. Appel, hotel manager in Palm Beach
- Gene Hackman as William B. Tensy
- Nora Dunn as Miss Madress, Tensy's housekeeper
- Julio Oscar Mechoso as Leo, Dean's friend & security guard
- Ricky Jay as Dawson's Auctioneer
- Sarah Silverman as Linda, Jack's friend and waitress
- Zach Galifianakis as Bill, Jack's friend and fry cook
- Michael Hitchcock as Dr. Arnold Davis
- Carrie Fisher as Ms. Surpin, Max's divorce attorney
- Elya Baskin as Vladimir, Kremlin Waiter
The film was set in Palm Beach, Florida. Filming started in and around Los Angeles in late April 2000. By June 2000, filming moved to South Florida for sequences shot in Palm Beach, Miami and Florida Keys. Locations included The Breakers, The Glades, and Worth Avenue. 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 area 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.
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and said that, "it does what a comedy must: It makes us laugh." A.O. Scott of the New York Times gave a glowing review of the film, stating that: "At a time when most comedies go for your wallet with a kick in the groin and a blackjack to the back of the head, this one, though it has some blunt instruments in its bag of tricks, has the class and professionalism to perpetrate an honest and sophisticated con."
According to Rotten Tomatoes, 53% of 122 critic reviews are positive, and the "critics consensus" on the website states, "Though the actors pour a lot of energy into their roles, Heartbreakers is too drawn out, and the romantic subplot doesn't blend well. Also, the con women aren't particularly sympathetic." At Metacritic, the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on reviews from 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of B- on scale of A to F.
In 2002, Weaver received a nomination for a Satellite Award for Best Actress – Musical or Comedy. Hewitt was nominated in the Choice Movie: Actress category of the 2001 Teen Choice Awards.
The film was released on VHS and DVD on October 2, 2001. The film was released on Blu-ray on November 24, 2015.
- Bachke Rehna Re Baba, a 2005 Bollywood film that was inspired by Heartbreakers.
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- Roger Ebert (23 March 2001). "Heartbreakers Movie Review & Film Summary (2001)". Chicago Sun-Times.
- A.O. Scott (2001-03-23). "FILM REVIEW; It's Take Your Daughter to Work Day". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
- "Heartbreakers". 23 March 2001.
- "Heartbreakers". Metacritic.
- "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
- Messier, Max. "Heartbreakers". Film Critic. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2011.